Maybe you just broke up. Maybe you just started dating. Maybe you’ve been flirting in the office for a while. Suddenly, other people seem less important as most of your thoughts are shifting to this one person, over and over again:
- What is he/she doing?
- What is he/she thinking?
- What can I do to affect what he/she is doing/thinking?
- How many more slashes can I get in a sentence/bullet point/note/post? (4, apparently)
We’ve all been through this before, and it’s usually not an enjoyable experience. (If anything, it’s characterized by a little anxiety.) But as a poster named foh4k on the Relationship Forums would say, why is this person renting so much mental space in your mind? Why have you suddenly occupied so many of your precious intellectual and emotional resources and devoted them to another person?
Who is being overlooked in this scenario?
You are! If you’ve fallen into this trap, you aren’t giving yourself the attention needed to make your life better. You’ve suddenly devoted a bunch of time and effort to doing something that isn’t what you wanted — yet another scenario where you’ve lost track of your original goals. Consider two possible goals behind your motivating emotions:
- Original Goal: You want to have an amazing relationship with another person.
- New Goal: You want to have an amazing relationship with the person on your mind.
These are two very different goals. Yet by obsessing over one person, you are sabotaging your original goal; It’s impossible to build a rewarding relationship with a high-quality person if you are obsessing over someone else. And typically, it’s not even possible to build a good relationship with that person — obsession is unattractive, to past and prospective relationships alike.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of brain misfiring get in the way of progress. And it won’t be the last. But what’s so interesting about this common scenario is that people detach from their original goal so jarringly that when you say to them “there are other fish in the sea,” they will frequently say:
“But I really want to be with [Individual of Interest].”
This is a goal-shift of epic proportions. Since the entire attraction to this person in the first place is, in theory, to fulfill the goal of “having an amazing relationship with another person,” not to have a relationship only with them. Heck, you weren’t even aware of them for most of your life…and now all of the hormones and neuro-chemical functions in your mind have you believing this one person is the only way to accomplish your goal of meeting a quality person.
Obsessing is not actually a good strategy for accomplishing your original goal. So if someone’s renting large areas of mental space in your mind, at least charge them rent!