By Katrina Liu

It’s a question that I find myself asking during various points in my life. Whether it’s listening to a friend talk about a boy that seems so close yet so far away or trying to chase that dream job or role in a play, yet seemingly always coming up short. Why are our brains wired like this?

Desire involving a person involves our own self esteem and self worth. When craving affection from a person, we are also craving self confirmation, like feeling special, attractive and powerful. 

That’s just who we are; humans are inherently vain. We want validation and there’s something about the unattainable that makes our heart race even more. We are attracted to a hint of mysteriousness. We want to figure out why the enigma is who they are and get frustrated when we can’t figure it out.

This is a similar concept to that dream job or role in a play and the feeling of defeat and anger when that rejection email comes through or when you don’t see your name on the cast list. Desire for that position shoots through the roof, because you’ve been working so hard. Of course, you’re going to be disappointed when you get a bad result.

According to a study conducted by Dr. R.J.R. Blair, “frustration occurs when an individual continues to do an action in the expectation of a reward but does not actually receive that reward, and is associated with anger.” Therefore, our brain connects the emotion of desire and unattainability together.

So, next time you check in with your emotions and find yourself brimming over with desire and frustration, know that there is a psychological aspect to it. It’s not just you wanting something just for the sake of wanting it. You want to feel good about yourself. And that’s okay. It’s all psychology, I promise.