Obsessions and Their Purpose
There is no doubt, the word "obsession" has a negative connotation for most. Even the dictionaries put a negative spin on it. Perhaps because of the way I've been retraining my mind to think and look at the world for such a long time, I prefer a more objective definition:
[ uh b-sesh-uh n ]SHOW IPA
the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
2019 has not been the easiest year for me. Mostly because I was quite obsessed with what was going on around the country with respect to vaccines and medical freedom. It's not the first time I've dove into the topic, reading day after day, article after article, comment section after comment section. (Noooooo!!!! stay away!!) Always I tried to research claims on both sides of the issue - searching the CDC website, vaccine inserts, VAERS, watching countless videos. It was consuming and exhausting.
But I don't regret it. I did the same thing with Unschooling. There were years of reading endlessly. Then I would stop for a while and when some doubt or question came up, I would dive back in again. Mike would say - stop reading that! You know it already! ha! But that was just it - I didn't know it to my core... YET.
I've followed so many amazing people over the years: Bloggers, homeschoolers - especially unschoolers, people in various health ventures etc. Many times they stop posting, writing and sharing after a while. I remember when one of my favorite bloggers stopped writing on her blog - I was so sad! I needed more!
But after a while I understood. She didn't need to anymore.
Obsessions aren't a bad thing. Unschooling has taught me this. Obsession is a strong interest in something - maybe better words to use are passion, attraction, enthusiasm. When we try to suppress our obsessions, they don't disappear and there is a good chance they will become stronger.
What if we let them run their course? I've found for myself that when I do, they fade in their own time and I can move on.
Of course, letting something dominate our life to the point of neglecting ourselves and others is something we try to avoid. But who gets to decide what level of interest and involvement is healthy?
I love this quote by J.K. Rowling:
"Everything was just very very dilapidated and always filthy which wasn’t the flat’s fault — it was normally my fault because people very often say to me, “How did you do it? How did you raise a baby and write a book?” and the answer is, I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor that was the answer."
Click here for another page with quotes from here where she repeatedly calls writing a compulsion.
I refuse to feel guilty about feeling compelled to do something that was really important to me. Also, I always had in the front of my mind that I needed to maintain some sort of balance - and I always knew that my family was the most important thing. I have to throw one more JK Rowling quote in here: “My youngest child asked me the other day, ‘Mummy, if you had to choose between us and writing, what would you choose?’ And I said, ‘Well I would choose you but I would be very, very grumpy.” Exactly.
Maybe we don't need to choose. Or maybe things actually go in cycles. Maybe when we honor ourselves and others, and our interests and others' interests things will work out in the very best way that they possibly can. Remember: Life is Lumpy. Or a Sine Wave - feel free to choose which analogy works for you.
So what was the purpose of an obsession, if eventually it wanes? Well, I guess there may be many . For me and the obsessions I referenced here, it served me to dig in a really examine the choices I am making in my life. When you choose to do things differently from the majority of people, it helps to feel really confident and good about those choices. And so I dive in, again and again. And each time I come out stronger and more focused... on what's really important.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.