While perusing Elite Daily one morning, I came across an article that discusses the rage you feel when a person who used to be obsessed with you moves on.
It caught my attention because it’s a feeling a lot of us have had at some point.
Granted, it may be more common among women, but I know a fair share of guys out there who have felt the same way.
It’s the age-old human condition of wanting something you can't have, even though you could've had it so easily when it was readily available to you.
It all goes back to the psychological principle of scarcity, which was detailed by psychologist Robert Cialdini in his seminal work, "Influence."
We humans generally regard scarce things to have a higher value than things that are readily available.
This is the essence of why gold is highly priced.
Gold cannot be manufactured (economically, anyway), and so we only have what already exists of it on the planet.
Because of this scarcity, the price of gold will always be much higher than silver, which is higher in supply and can also be produced.
It's basic supply and demand.
But, these factors work just as much in our subconscious minds, playing out in our daily lives like they do in economics.
It's the same when someone who's obsessed with you moves on.
When the person wanted you, he or she was so easy to have.
The person chased you, bent over backwards to accommodate you and generally did whatever he or she could to please you.
This person was essentially in "high supply." Since he or she was so easy to have, you didn't want him or her.
There's less value in things that are easy to obtain.
But when the person moves on, you're suddenly left with an empty hole where this person used to be, regardless of how his or her previous actions may have annoyed you.
The person then becomes scarce because he or she is no longer available to you when you want him or her.
This scarcity makes the person seem more valuable to you.
You miss what you once had.
There's another facet to scarcity that has a part to play here. We humans, in our infinite (and somewhat pointless) complexity, hate to lose pleasures or freedoms we already possess.
Once we're used to something — be it a certain standard of living, a certain person's constant attention or even a specific type of burger we can only get from that one joint — we become accustomed to it being the norm, and our focus goes to other things.
If we have to give up our existing standards, freedoms or pleasures, we have a very hard time because our minds subconsciously tell us we're taking a step backwards.
We feel we're already entitled to these things. We should not have to do without them.
Your subconscious will push you to try to get them back, should they be taken away.
This is a significant reason behind revolts in society.
If a new government takes office and denies its people freedoms they already possess, revolution is likely to follow.
So, when that person retracts his or her constant obsessive attention, you're losing a pleasure you already possessed. Your mind will try to fight against this.
Some of you may be thinking, "I didn't want the attention in the first place. I'm so glad this person is now out of my life."
This is fair. But to those who find themselves saying this and still experiencing those conflicting feelings of loss and emptiness, there is another aspect to the situation.
Humans are vain.
Anything that makes us feel more attractive, more important or more desirable is generally welcomed, as all these things pump up our vanity.
So, having someone who is obsessed with you can be incredibly flattering to your personal sense of vanity.
But when this person moves on, your vanity is no longer regularly stroked.
You've lost something you've already become accustomed to. His or her attention becomes scarce.
But, you didn't even want this person in the first place.
It's funny how the mind works.