The author suggests, in part, that these individuals may be succumbing to the psychological phenomenon called loss aversion, the concept that "losses make us feel bad more than gains make us feel good". What this means is that the pain of losing something is greater than the joy of wining something. Could this at least partially explain why an individual with social anxiety may fear the possibility of rejection much more acutely when approaching a person at a party than the excitement he or she would feel at the possibility of actually getting a date? Could loss aversion also help explain why certain individuals who so badly want to be in a relationship, often do the very things that make those relationships fail? Could this phenomenon also explain why some people are often so reluctant to change certain things about themselves and their relationships, even when they know those things to be damaging, simply because the idea of losing what they already know and have is much more painful than the idea of gaining something new?
Is the devil you know really better than the devil you don't? Or are we so afraid of losing what we already know that we are holding ourselves back from creating the kind of life and experiences that we truly want? Perhaps there is something to the Buddhist teachings that "in order to gain anything, you must first lose everything". Maybe we do not need to lose everything in the physical sense, but perhaps holding on to expectations, behaviors, beliefs and maladaptive patterns simply because of habit, previous conditioning and the perceived safety of predictability is holding us back from truly experiencing all that life has to offer, and reaching our full potential in all of our endeavors.