May 14, 2010
May 14, 2010


Has anyone ever said to you?, ”Your ____ activity is obsessive.” You wondered if you should accept that message?

Well, we live in a society that is judgmental. It helps if we, at least, get the labels which identify a person or situation correctly. Psychological terms are used without the understanding of their significance. Take the term obsessive/ compulsive which appears to have become mixed up with the values of goal objectivity, perseverance, sustainability, and sacrifice.

An obsession is something which an individual is unable to prevent him/herself from repetitively imagining or doing. The compulsive activity from the obsession is not enjoyable and has no purpose, except as a release of tension when it is accomplished; such as continual hand washing when not needed or walking in circle around a pole several times for no reason.

Many people confuse the definition of excessive with obsessive to include any type of situation that is performed repeatedly regardless of the objectives that motivate the individual to persevere.

An individual beginning a new business-in order to be successful-will often spend long hours developing what hopefully will become their family’s bread and butter and their retirement income. This may fit the definition of not being enjoyable, but it has a specific and needed outcome.

An individual may become immersed in learning a new sport, studying for exams, or developing a new hobby. The act of persevering to accomplish perfection may be based on competitiveness, or pride in oneself which leads to good self esteem, or may be to improve ones mental or physical health, or to create a better future for oneself or ones family or even to create a better community. As long as there is a purpose which is self imposed and not a feeling that one is compelled with no choice to follow a nonsensical action one is then, persevering against odds and can not be labelled obsessive.

Perseverance often includes sacrifice of time, money or even enjoying relationships. It may be viewed as excessive and not agree with other people’s priorities, but it is not correctly termed obsessive.

There is a possibility that the labeller is deliberately attacking the hard worker because s/he is envious of the success, or is an individual who views everything negatively. Ridicule is often used as a form of manipulation for the goal of the ridiculer.

In either case,you may wish to inform the attacker that s/he is misinformed or merely walk away amused by the ignorance of the attacker; who really believes that they are more intelligent than you.

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