Passion Rediscovered

The key to truly rewarding focus is doing what lights you up. Passion is like a laser beam. If you’re easily distracted, you’re not in love enough with what you’re doing. It sounds idealistic, I know. But passion is like that – demanding. And worth it.

“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.”

A Civil Campaign

Lois McMaster Bujold

It’s very hard in our current society to actually allow ourselves to completely surrender themselves to passion.  It’s even harder if you come from a family that struggles with the expression of emotion.

It’s a sad by-product of our society’s focus on “what will other people think?” – we fear the judgement other people will have, and sometimes we over-estimate the actual impact of that judgement on ourselves. It doesn’t matter if our response is embarrassment or anger, just that someone out there somewhere thinks badly of us.

Thing is, not everyone is going to like us.  Hell, some may actually try to lay responsibility for their lives directly at our feet, as if it is our job to ensure their lives are perfection.

It’s not your job to live someone else’s life for them, it’s your job to give yourself the best life you can with the options you have.

Now, I’m not saying you should completely disregard the thoughts and judgements of those most emotionally intimate with you, but you do need to take them with a grain of salt.  Even those who love you can sometimes have a calcified view of who you are, even if that opinion is no longer valid (or ever was).

But where does passion fit in with all of this?  Well, passion is an emotion that an awful lot of people fear.  They fear the intensity of the emotion or the fact that it offers a handle by which we can be controlled.  We see having a passion as something someone else can strip away from us.  Even when it is sexual passion, we fear the risk that the person for whom we have a passion will abandon us or not offer us the same level of passion we feel.

Particularly if you grow up in a family that struggles with emotional availability, it becomes very hard to let yourself become immersed in your passion.  If your passion is some form of creativity, it can seem to your family that you are withdrawing from them or abandoning them, even if you are still there.  Your passion becomes consuming, leaving you little time or energy for interaction with others.

Other times, some of those closest to us may want to involve themselves in your passions, because they feel that way they at least have some tenuous link left with you, ameliorating the feelings of abandonment.  But, it can become cloying and destructive, pulling you out of the passion of creativity – back into trying to make everyone happy with your choices.

Allowing yourself to feel the intensity of passion, of immersing yourself into it, is a risk.  It does open your life to some impact of others on your life – particularly if your passion is creative.  It doesn’t  matter what form the creativity takes – art, cooking, baking, music, writing, etc – there is always that point at which you share it with someone else, and you have to face their thoughts on it.

It’s sometimes easy to keep those creative passions to yourself, and never share them with others.  It’s tempting, because you’re allowing yourself to express difficult concepts or emotions, but if you don’t show it to anyone – you don’t have to risk displeasure or criticism.

Creativity is MEANT to be shared.  It’s only fear that stops us from doing it.

So, yes, I’m opening myself up further – but it’s a choice I need to make.

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Categories: Creativity, Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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