Passion vs. Obsession

“Are you obsessed?” This was the question I asked myself many years ago as I realized I was having a tough time disconnecting from TV and radio news.

The answer, by the way, was yes.

In hindsight, I can tell you exactly when I crossed the bridge from a healthy interest to an unhealthy, somewhat uncontrollable, compulsion to “know.”

It was 9-11.

The shocking attacks created a need to “check in” with the news to see if anything else terrible had happened. This daily obsession over safety concerns eventually blossomed into more of a broad-spectrum need to be hyper-informed about pretty much everything. Like being attached to an IV drip, I craved a constant, almost uninterrupted, infusion of information; never mind if most of it was repeated.

After a few years of this, and recognizing that this “habit” was influencing my daytime activities and interactions with others, I began to cut way back. It was during the ugly election cycle of 2016 that I ultimately eliminated all audible news and commentary.

I was fortunate that the internet was less developed during my most obsessive years. There was no twitter (2006) or facebook (2004), so the ability to argue with total strangers, or drop provocative statements just to garner “likes” or a reaction, wasn’t an option for me.

Thank God!

As I patiently listened to a friend ruminating over politics the other day, I recognized her obvious need to keep the pre-2020-election fever pitch going. Her candidate had won, but you wouldn’t have known it by her high level of agitation and need to pivot onto new topics of seemingly existential concern.

She needed more,

she had to have more..

Multiple media outlets stand ready to feed her addiction.

No peace, at least not this year, for my dear friend.

Which is pretty much the hallmark of an obsession..

There is never any peace.

How are you doing in this area?

2020 has, if nothing else, provided plenty of freshly manured ground to nurture all manner of obsessive behaviors. The first step towards reclaiming peace for your life is identifying what has morphed from a healthy passion into a hard to control obsession.

Is it the news?

Politics?

Exercising?

Reading?

Netflix/Prime/HBO/Disney?

A relationship?

Online shopping?

Religious ritual?

Baking?

Social media?

Work?

Blogging?

According to an article by Dr. Theo Tsaousides in Psychology Today, “Harmonious passion is the healthy kind of passion that keeps you refreshed, energized, and motivated… Obsessive passion is the harmful kind that can make you feel overwhelmed, anguished, and guilty.”

Tomorrow I’ll share Dr. Tsaousides’ insight and helpful tips on recognizing whether your passion has morphed into an obsession and how to release yourself from its grip. For today..just spend a moment or two asking yourself if a passion of yours has possibly grown into a problem.

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