Obsessed With Loving Obsession

A quick internet search of the term “obsession” is a fairly interesting thing, not least because it would appear that the thing we’re most obsessed about is obsession itself.

Go on to Google’s main results page and most of the results will be how to deal with obsessed lovers, with the videos page offering something very similar.  Shopping will have many, many results for perfume or romantic fiction.  Images is slightly different, but the word art is still punctuated with pictures of half naked humans and the aforementioned perfume.  Maps provides direction to places indulging our love of various food as well fully naked humans dancing round poles.

It’s only really the news where obsession with someone is replaced with being obsessed with something – whether that be fame, guns or Pokemon Go.  In some cases, we also become obsessed with the fact that someone else is obsessed!

If one takes the lighter of the three things I listed from the news, there are theories about how and why Pokemon Go became an obsession for many.  From the moment you hear the game’s catchphrase “Gotta catch ’em all”, you’re already drawn in to the challenge and subsequent achievement.  There’s also the social aspect of competition and teamwork, not least in Pokemon Gyms as well as spending time with each other searching, which plays to basic human nature.

The point is that people become obsessed with something because they enjoy it or love it, and I suppose this is why we see all those particular results on Google.

Obsession is generally seen as a negative trait, making someone unable to focus on other things.  I, for example, forgot all about my need to use the bathroom when confronted with a Jigglypuff.

A JIGGLYPUFF!!! #noideawhatoneis #likethenamethough #soundsrude

A photo posted by Michael Herbert (@83unsungheroes) on

However, being healthily obsessed with self-improvement is actually a positive thing because, as with all obsession, if you can control it it can provide focus and drive.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic Ph.D. talks about obsession with three major character traits of Openness to Experience, Emotional Stability and Agreeableness or Inter-personal Sensitivity.  All these traits require empathy and flexibility, with Chamorro-Premuzic even suggesting that people who are too emotionally stable may actually become dangerously obsessive because they can not change out of a current mindset.

That leads me to believe that the difference between love and obsession is in the requirement for the object of that emotion.  Obsession is the requirement for someone or something, that absolute need.  It’s thinking that whatever or whoever it is will have the ability to rescue us.

Love is not about needing the wind beneath our kite, but about something making good better.  With people, it’s about wanting to share experiences and help each other grow.  It’s about providing the foundation for someone else to go out and achieve what they want to achieve.

I wanna be a celebrity martyr
The leading man in my own private drama
Hoorah, bang, bang, hoorah, bang, bang, the hero of the hour
Daddy’s little psycho and mommy’s little soldier
I wanna be a celebrity martyr
The leading man in my own private drama
Hoorah, bang, bang, hoorah, bang, bang, the hero of the hour
Daddy’s little psycho and mommy’s little soldier

Bang Bang by Green Day

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