The words addiction and obsession can appear to describe the same thing. And yet there is a clear distinction between the two. An obsession is something that is usually in the mind and can relate to people, things and ideas; so all that is abstract and all that is concrete.
On the other hand, an addiction is something that could be described as a doing and relates to the actions that one takes. It is possible for one to be addicted to something without thinking about it all the time; and for someone to be obsessed by something without the need to act on the obsession.
One can become obsessed with anything and this can be to do with people who are: actors, musicians, sports stars or models. Just as one can become obsessed with: losing or gaining Weight, looking younger than they are, looking good at all times and to eating the right foods.
As well as these examples, one can also be obsessed with: fame, success and winning. And this can relate to a man or a woman that one is in a relationship with or someone who one wished they were in a relationship with.
The words ‘you’re so obsessed’ are often expressed when one person becomes aware of this in another person. An obsession can then seem to be something that one should feel ashamed of for having.
And while it is clear that it could well lead to dysfunctional and unhealthy experiences, it is clearly not black and white. Although it may well be displayed as something to be avoided, it can also lead to incredible productivity, achievement and success.
However, this will of course depend on what one is obsessed with. If one is obsessed with losing weight for instance, it can lead to both positive and negative consequences. On the positive side, it will mean that one is likely to stick to the process and not give up on what needs to be done.
It could also mean that one will lose sight of everything else in their life and the balance that this would bring; creating intense stress, anxiety and pressure in the process. And due to the attachment that being obsessed creates, it may result in one feeling hopeless, disempowered and even depressed if it doesn’t go to plan.
This gives us an insight into what obsession actually is. It involves the mind attaching to something. And once it has attached to this, be it an idea or a person, it will not let go; A bit like a baby with a dummy.
Here ones whole focus will be consumed by an object, idea or fantasy. There will be no space or time for anything else to be allowed into one’s mind. So what the ego mind can do though this process, is to regulate uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions.
An obsession could be labelled as a defence mechanism. At first glance it would be easy to point the finger at ideas, objects or people and to say that these things have power over the person who is obsessed. But this is only part of the equation.
Through being attached, they are acting as a distraction and as a way to avoid what is too painful for the mind to face. So, as I mentioned above; they are helping to regulate ones emotions, but this is unlikely to be a long term solution.
Part Of Life
Unless one lives on a mountain or in the middle of nowhere and away from everything, there is going to be internal unrest at times. And one way to deal with this is to become obsessed to something that will take ones attention away from the pain.
And if that is something that will lead to a sense of fulfilment being created and not to long term problems, then it is surely a good thing. At times this may lead to sense of unbalance; but that’s part of life and can’t always be avoided and neither does it need to be.
What is important here is that one is aware enough to monitor this process. To evaluate what is happening and then to decide if it is leading to or will lead to the consequences that one wants to create.
It would easy to say an obsession is a bad thing, but it’s obviously not that simple. How emotional aware and intelligent one is, will go a long way to defining what one is obsessed to and how obsessed they become.
If this has become a problem in one’s life, then they may need to seek the assistance of a therapist, healer or coach. Or to educate themselves further on this important topic.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.