This has been a topic I’ve come across lately both in my practice and in my personal life. I started thinking about the ways people fixate on a plethora of things. Fixation can include an individual, weight, money, and specific moments from one’s past. If you think about it, it’s actually quite easy to fixate on something. The harder part is figuring out why you’re fixating on this specific person or thing and then making the choice to stop obsessing.
What are you currently obsessing about? Now ask yourself the following questions:
1. What does this person actually mean to me? Sometimes we fixate on a person but it’s not really because of that specific person, rather they represent something else. Maybe that person reminds you of your mother but it’s too hard to think negative things about your mother so you channel it all into this other person. Or you’re possibly fixating on a person who treated you a certain way and left you feeling as though they didn’t care about you and you’re having a difficult time coming to terms with sadness or anger that’s underneath the fixation. It’s time to think about what this person represents so that you can move on from him/her and start focusing on what’s bothering you on a deeper level. Once you do this you can work through the real issue and move past it.
2. How would life be different if I had more _______? If you’re fixating on your body/weight or money this might be the more important question for you to ask yourself. Do you feel as though your life will drastically change from how it currently is now? If so, ask yourself why. Maybe there are things you can start doing now to make life how you want it to be rather than waiting for it to change simply because you change one facet of yourself or your situation. You could be spending so much time focusing on the goal that you’re not enjoying the moment you’re living in. While having more money or being healthier can be seen as good things it can still be dangerous to obsess over having them because it can lead to unhealthier means of obtaining what you want.
3. What moment in the past am I clinging onto? I’m someone who spends a lot of time in my work helping people reflect on their past experiences. Clearly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to look back at what happened in our lives before this point but I do think it can be a slippery slope. Ruminating over events that happened can leave us with feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger. While I think it’s important to process past experiences there comes a point where you want to use the past to lead yourself into a more fulfilling present and future.
4. What would I be thinking about or doing with my time if I wasn’t spending so much time fixating on _______? Obsessing over a specific person or thing is stopping you from doing something else. It’s time to start thinking about what you want for yourself and why you’re letting this fixation hold you back. Maybe it’s easier to obsess over someone from a distance than to face someone close to you. With social media these days it’s very easy to spend time looking at various pictures online of a person or people who seemingly have the one thing you want. All the time you’re spending online is time you’re not spending doing something for yourself. Wouldn’t it feel better to cook yourself a nice dinner, go for a long walk, or catch up with a friend.
I believe we all go through moments where we focus our attention to somebody or something else. Moments are okay but when these moments turn into hours, days, or weeks it becomes more of a fixation. Try to see when you’re falling into this pattern and catch yourself before you start to fixate. We all only have so much mental energy and we don’t need to use it to think about things that hold us back rather than move us forward. Once you figure out why you’re fixating so heavily on somebody or something you’ll be able to work on the underlying issue. Moving past the fixation will free up your mind and energy and bring you a place where you get to focus on yourself more.