by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 18th September, 2018
Imagine living a life in which you have no genuine passion for the things you do or the people you see. Being passionate about the things that make up your life helps to bring meaning to your existence and a sense of purpose. Without purpose your career, family life and relationships will suffer, and you won't truly feel happy.
Discovering what you feel passionate about helps to bring balance into your life. The positive energy you generate when you spend time doing things that mean something to you helps you to enjoy the more mundane aspects of your life.
When you don't have this sense of balance it is easy to focus on your negative energy - things like stress, fatigue, boredom, and resentments - and you are more likely to direct your negative energy towards the things or people in your life that you feel are making you unhappy because you feel unfulfilled, like your romantic partner, your work colleagues, children and pets, or even yourself.
Resentments and self-hate can easily develop when you can't find an outlet or passion that helps you to generate good feelings about yourself and your life.
Your passion could be something that started as a seed when you were young and has developed into something that helps to define who you are as a person today. Many of us lose sight of the interests we had as children, and instead we think we need to come up with big dreams to chase after as adults. But sometimes our true passions never left, they have just been buried away while we focus on the things we think are more lucrative in our adult lives.
A passion isn't something you have to work hard at, because it is a natural interest that you have probably nurtured already some time ago in your past. The reason our passions often surface when we are children is that we have imagination and a belief that anything is possible. When you grow older you are more likely to start rationalising and you may start to pursue the ideas and interests that seem most realistic to your adult mind, dismissing the more whimsical or outrageous ones.
But your passion could also be something quite simple, like having an interest in animals or growing things in the garden. Think about what you really loved when you were a child. Did you love to draw or tell stories? Did you love to help out in the kitchen and learn about food? What sort of television programmes used to interest you? Did you like swimming or another sport?
Getting back in touch with the activities and interests that used to obsess you as a child or teenager can reignite passions that you may want to pursue again now as an adult.
If you are interested in rediscovering your passions, or indeed finding new ones, here are some ideas to help you get started.
Make a list of all of the things that you are really good at, and then go through the list and cross out all of the things that you may be good at but which don't truly delight you or make you happy.
Don't be afraid to include really mundane things to your list. For example, perhaps you pride yourself for your organisational skills? Maybe you are really good at doing your make-up? Do your friends and family go crazy for your imaginative cupcake recipes? What about money, are you good at budgeting or living on a small budget?
Think about ways in which you are useful to other people too. For example, do you love to walk your neighbour's dog or encourage creativity in children? Are you a prolific reader or a film buff? Do you enjoy taking photographs?
Include anything that you feel enthusiastic about, and think about how to implement these passions into your life so that they provide you with a real sense of satisfaction.
A tell tale sign that you have a passion is when you find yourself losing track of time during an activity. Pay attention to conversations you have with people, especially the conversations about a specific topic that get you going and you could talk about all day and night.
Are there times when you wish there was more time to do certain things that you enjoy doing? I don't mean lying in bed in the morning, but perhaps you sit in bed at night reading online articles or watching Youtube videos about people who live alternative lives, like in a van, on a boat or in a tiny house? Maybe you are interested in astrology and love to read not only your horoscope but also the horoscopes of all of your friends! Do you like dancing or singing?
When you find yourself wishing there was more time to do something, you may have found one of your passions in life.
Sometimes discovering passions could mean that you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. New passions can be born anytime and don't necessarily have to develop from a seed planted in your childhood. The more new activities you try, the more new subjects you learn about, and the more people you meet, the more likely you are to discover something new that you feel passionately about.
Trying new things can also help you to distinguish between your true passions and passing interests that fade away. You can usually tell when you are truly passionate about something because it is what begins to take over your life the more your energy and focus you give to it.
What you do with your passion is up to you. Some people find that it is enough to keep their life pretty much the way it is, but use the things they are passionate about to help bring more meaning, balance and enjoyment to the mundane things. Not everybody wants to chase after far-fetched dreams. Sometimes it is enough to have a few hobbies, which make everyday life feel balanced and bearable. Often a boring 9 to 5 job doesn't seem as bad when you dance Salsa three times a week in the evenings or enjoy trying out new recipes at home to feed to your friends or family.
When you discover your passion, it can sometimes have the potential to change your life completely though. If you find something that drives you with the force of an obsession, you may want to consider letting your passion lead the way. This could mean a career change, starting up a new business, moving to another country or going travelling.
You only have one life, and what you do with it is up to you. Only you know what kind of life you really want to lead, and your passions can help you to achieve that life.