In psychology, the law of familiarity refers to being exposed to something enough times to where it becomes familiar. You start to take it for granted or appreciate it less.
The law of familiarity shows up in many different areas of your life, and if you are not aware of how to break out of it, it can be very destructive.
Examples of the Law of Familiarity
1. A New Car
When you buy a brand new car, you have joy and pride when thinking about it. There is that new car smell, everything is clean and shiny, and you are still trying to figure out how all the buttons work. After a while, you get used to the car and start to really enjoy it.
Pretty soon you are doing a daily task, like leaving a store, and you see a small ding on the side of your car. Someone must have opened their car door on your car, and you feel outraged.
As the weeks go by, the ding’s ability to produce an emotional charge in you diminishes. After months go by you experience some more dings and scratches, and before you know it, you buying a basic wash instead of full detail and wax.
Just like the new car, romantic relationships have also been affected this way.
At first, it’s all butterflies and excitement, but as the years’ progress, the excitement wears off. The more you get to know this person, the more you start taking them for granted.
3. A New Job
Having a new job or career is new and exciting. There is so much to learn and new people to be around. When you first start, you take time to make sure your outfit is on point and you feel excitement walking through the office.
After months go by, you start to get comfortable showing up a few minutes late and are days where you don’t dress up as much. This is the law of familiarity working against you.
Sources of Happiness
When we rely on other people, things, and events to make us happy, we tie our hands together. Complacency in multiple areas of your life will not serve you. This is why so many people bounce from person to person, job to job, and never being satisfied.
So many people have the belief that other people, events, and things are the source of their happiness. You have to learn how to create happiness for yourself.
The Solution: Gratitude and Excitement
The best way to avoid complacency is to add appreciation for the things and people in your life. Gratitude is such powerful medicine.
Practice gratitude when getting in your car, when spending time with people you care about, and at work. Add exciting things to keep relationships alive and passion going.
Creating the life you really want is up to you. You cannot just wait for things to bring you joy, you have to take it upon yourself to create it.