Hello my name is Heidi and I’d always wondered why in the English language we use the term ‘pay attention’ when we are referring to focusing our energy on something or someone.
The Oxford Dictionary definition of the word ‘attention’ is:
* notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.
If attention is just energy (it’s literally just waves) then it makes logical sense that wherever we focus our attention is where our energy goes. But here’s the thing, why within the above definition is there an interpretation that the focusing of attention on something or someone ‘regards them as interesting or important’ to you?
A quick Google search tells me that the origin of the word ‘pay’ is Middle English (in the sense ‘pacify’): from Old French paie (noun), payer (verb), from Latin pacare means to ‘appease’, from pax, pac- ‘peace’.
And what is the definition of ‘appease’? Well, it’s to:
* pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands
* assuage or satisfy (a demand or a feeling)
* to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.
So hang on a minute…if something or somebody wants my attention, by definition they are literally requesting that I give my energy to them as way of pacifying, yielding or placating them? What?!?
If I give my energy to them, will I also feel better? Does the act of giving my energy to them for their appeasement make me also feel more energetically abundant or do I actually feel deflated instead?
My interpretation is that the free will (choice) we all have of where we direct our attention/energy to is our human Holy Grail. It is through what we do with our attention that we experience and create our lives. If we don’t give our attention to something it doesn’t really exist to us. If we give close and continued attention to something, it can consume us.
But what does any of this have to do with my weight loss journey? Well, why on earth would I give my Holy Grail (attention) to something or someone just because they want me to give it to them to appease the way that they feel, if in the act of doing so I deflate myself?
For as long as I can remember I’d had the sense that I was living life with what I’d refer to as an empty fuel tank. It never stopped me from doing things like creating a successful career, traveling the world or running a half marathon, but I knew I was operating well below my full capacity. I was experiencing fatigue that sleep could never satisfy. I felt like I’d asked all the right questions of the various professionals, took iron and other supplements where advised, changed my diet and exercise and never really felt any better. Regardless of whether my weight was up or down, I just could not shake off that feeling that I was somehow leaking energy.
If you’ve undertaken some form of restriction diet in the past, you will probably understand the experience of a large part of your attention being focused on controlling your interactions with food. You can become consumed by thoughts of what you can eat but more so of what you can’t eat, when you can eat next and whether you have stayed within the rules etc. You wake up thinking about this food struggle and you go to sleep thinking about whether you have succeeded or failed to compile with the latest set of rules. It’s a struggle to keep this control going day-to-day and over time your ability to maintain the restrictions overwhelms you, it exhausts you and you eventually give up the battle feeling powerless. It’s another war lost with your self. You have given away all your attention (and maybe quite a bit of money too) and ended up feeling more deflated than when you started.
Where did all your energy go? I can only talk from my own experience in that it was my ghosts who ate it, just like PacMan eats them in the game. Munch, munch, munch and always still looking for more.
Attention is the food that ghosts survive and thrive on. The laws of nature define that if you don’t feed something, it dies. Your ghost stories are the hidden in the dark perceptions of your past experiences and when they are in charge of you, they dictate where you focus your attention. If your ghosts tell you that by focusing your attention on controlling something (or someone) that you will feel better, they have sucked you into their feeding frenzy.
If you sit back for a moment and ask yourself how you felt your attention was being controlled by others as a child, you may unexpectedly find both the source of your ghost story of lack whilst also spotting your own current patterns of how you seek to control the attention of something or someone else.
What are the different modes that humans use in their attempts to control other’s energy, literally looking to appease themselves by getting others to pay attention to them?
* The Aggressor: Someone who overtly takes energy from others via threat, forcing people to pay attention to them. This demand may be expressed loudly or subtly, but both carry the underlying threat of ‘do it or else consequences will occur’. This mode creates a sense of powerlessness for the child, enabling the Aggressor to control them.
* The Judge/Fixer: Someone who passive aggressively gets attention from other people by watching, questioning (either externally or internally) and then judging them. The Judge/Fixer mode is a defense mechanism to deter others from judging them, by pushing forward their own sense of superiority towards others. This mode destroys the independent self-esteem of the child, enabling the Judge/Fixer to control them.
* The Victim: Someone who covertly gets attention by making others feel either sympathetic or guilty, seeking to push their responsibilities onto others. The Victim strategically shifts between Aggressor, Judge/Fixer and Aloof mode depending upon their current audience in an attempt to maintain their victim story as to how they are being wronged. This mode creates a sense of protectiveness within the child towards the parent, enabling the Victim to push responsibility for their well-being onto the child to control them.
* The Aloof: Someone who has an ambivalent way of getting attention by being withdrawn and seemingly uninterested in sharing their world with others. This is a way of pulling the attention of others into them by standing back. This is an ‘on-guard’ defense mechanism used to block others before they can question, attack or judge them. This mode communicates a sense of disinterest/unavailability which in turn creates a lack of worthiness in the child, enabling the parent to keep the child continuing to try to please them to get their attention.
Each of these modes can result in the creation of underlying ghost stories of lack in the child. Where there is a sense of a lack of power, self-esteem, freedom and/or a lack of worthiness this all leads to a child not feeling enough.
As humans when we don’t feel enough, we often look towards something or someone to fill this void, seeking another thing that we can get attention from, in our efforts to achieve our own appeasement. We seek out our own appeasement through betrayal of our own Holy Grail by giving it away to other people, food, alcohol, drugs etc none of which ever fulfill us.
For attention to transit there needs to be a source which outputs and source that receives. So when you are on a diet, thinking about a diet, musing about your latest failed diet etc you are the source that outputs attention and food is the source that receives this. However, does food ever transmit attention back to you? The answer is no. Directing your attention to something (or someone) who does not return attention to you in whatever form, can never do anything other than result in a deflation of your energy. The more you think about it (or them) the more fatigued you become. You are tipping your energy into a whirling vortex, never to be seen again.
So wouldn’t it make more logical sense if you are seeking to lose weight to do so by removing your attention from food rather than trying to focus more attention on it? But how do you do that?
Your human gift of free will gives you the freedom of choice meaning once you decide where you are going to transmit your attention to or not, nothing or nobody else can ever control you if you do not allow them to. Once you are aware that you have been giving food (or something/someone else) your attention and recognise that you are getting nothing back in return, then you can simply decide to not do that anymore and close the transmission.
When you decide to no longer pay attention to something, you are no longer giving away your energy in efforts to appease something or someone outside of you. You have effectively healed your own energy leak.