The organising idea of Human Givens is about our essential human needs – essential that is for our emotional and mental health. Attention is one of the needs that Human Givens identifies. This may not appear as essential as some others, but it is.
Listen to this Sixth Audio of the “Wellbeing” series and you can also read the accompanying blog post.
Listen/download to my audio: Without the giving and receiving of Attention - like being lost in space
Read my Depression Help Blog post: Without the giving and receiving of Attention - like being lost in space
1: Human Givens Organising Idea
Audio 2: Emotions not Thoughts
Audio 3: Flexibly webbed
Audio 4: Healing Emotions
Audio 5: Privacy and Depression
Audio 6: A life without Attention
Audio 7: Mental Health Stigma
Audio 8: The Observing Self
The giving and receiving of Attention is not on everyone’s list of essential emotional needs. We can understand the need to be safe, to have some control of our lives, to have meaningful relationships and a sense of meaning. But attention – what is that exactly?
To my mind, the best way to understand it – both the giving and receiving of attention is to understand that it is about self referencing and learning in the most profound sense. It is about checking and learning about oneself in the easiest way possible – which is with reference to what is happening outside of us. It is only by watching and observing others and what they say and do and by testing our own thoughts, emotions and actions by the reaction of others that we in fact learn in the most fundamental sense about what is appropriate and best for us. It is absolutely essential for our survival.
Imagine a life where there is no meaningful attention exchange at all. Where no one recognise or acknowledges you. Where you are viewed as either mad or useless and where nothing you say is heard at all. And so you respond by disappearing from view. Can you imagine that? It would be as if you were losing all meaningful contact with the world. It would be like being lost in space with no sensory contact possible. It would be as if we ceased to exist. Maybe that is madness?