Jussie Smollett is a reflection of us all

For those of you on the ball, you may have heard the recent drama surrounding Empire star, Jussie Smollett. In January this year, Smollett claimed he experienced a racist and homophobic attack. Despite vehemently holding on to his innocence, it has since been discovered that the experience Smollett shared was completely fabricated. It is presumed that he paid two brothers to stage the attack. He has been charged with filing a false police report and is out on bail whilst further investigation is underway[1]. It has been suggested that the reason for his actions were to “draw attention to himself because he was dissatisfied with his salary[2]”.

I do believe that his whole story has been fabricated because the evidence against him is just too significant. In my opinion, it’s a real shame that he specifically called out his blackness and gayness in relation to the attack because it completely undermines both communities. Homophobic and racist attacks are VERY real things and I can only imagine how much more disgusted than I am, people who have experienced these things would feel by Jussie’s actions. This post isn’t written to belittle the gravity of what he’s done but to highlight the realities of the society we live in. Although Jussie’s case is somewhat of an extreme example, it does highlight the fact that we live in a society where people crave attention so much, they will go to almost any lengths to get it.

To a certain extent, we all need and crave attention because we’re social beings, it’s normal, we need interaction. There is a fine line however between a normal healthy need for interaction and exhibiting unhealthy attention seeking behaviour. I love to discuss the impact of social media and yes, I feel the need to mention it again in this post. Social media and technology literally put the world at our finger tips and as a result helps to feed our need for attention because it means the world also has access to us, therefore giving us a larger more easily accessible stage to perform on. I was also going to say that social media has a fantastic way of playing on our insecurities but it’s not social media that does that, it’s the people that use it that do. The reason I touch on insecurities is because although we all crave attention to some extent only a handful of people will go to concerning lengths to get it.

Insecurities explain A LOT of behaviours and the reality is we all have them. Negative attention seeking is no different, this kind of behaviour more often than not stems from an individual’s insecurities. Whether that be insecurities that developed at a later stage in life or childhood insecurities, whatever the case, this behaviour can be very damaging. Generally, the people closest to you tolerate this kind of behaviour the longest but there is only so long anyone can put up with it.

This is one of those posts that I sit here writing and wonder to myself, what exactly is the point of this post? What is the message I’m trying to get across? There are a number of different things I want you to take away from this. Firstly, the need for attention in itself is not a bad thing. It’s quite normal that as social beings we want to interact with fellow humans. It becomes problematic when what you do to get that attention is negative because at that point, you’re not thinking about how what you do impacts those around you. Secondly, check your insecurities. Everyone has them so it’s not abnormal but if your insecurities are leading you to do extremely stupid things then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate. Lastly, don’t tolerate toxic behaviour, as previously mentioned it’s the people closest to you that put up with negative attention seeking behaviour the longest and that can be very draining if you’re the one putting up with it. Whether they’re your friend, colleague or a family member you don’t need to put up with that behaviour. Paying attention to it will only further fuel it.

I’m just going to end on this “the hunger for attention is an enemy of self-love”.

Paula M

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47313172

[2] https://yhoo.it/2Izt4hv

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