What are you passionate about?

The age old question that you are asked umpteen times in your life.  Whether you are asked in an interview, by your friends, relatives, etc.  It’s interesting that this has come around more frequently as a question as I feel it means we as a society are more concerned with what drives people.  Not just what they aim for in the future, i.e. goals, but things that help wake them up every day and get out of bed.

Recently, in a book I read, there was a challenge to no longer ask “What do you do?” when you are meeting someone but to ask “What are you passionate about”?  I was struck to my core by this line.  It continued on to say that we define ourselves by our job and our title but is that truly who we are.  Our passions are what encompasses who we are and what is left of us when we go.  When you read an obituary, sorry to get daunting here, but when you read one do they say “X Smith was an engineer” and leave it at that? I mean, maybe some do but those I have read do not.  They talk about the individuals passions and what they truly cared about.

I recently had a conversation about passions with a colleague and friend.  She asked me to have lunch with her to specifically talk about my Passion Planner.  When we sat down she brought up that she was asked this exact question recently and she was a little stumped. She asked me my thoughts and I was inspired to write.

When talking with her I told her I am passionate about:

  • Family
  • Yoga
  • My relationships
  • Animals
  • Health
  • Living life

I told her when someone asks me what I am passionate about I think of things that make me happiest.  I also shared that my passions have changed and they will change.  New things come into our life all of the time and others leave.  There are people I know who used to be passionate about a specific sport and now they just don’t care for it anymore.

I do find that sometimes our passions can take too much of our energy.  We get so involved in them with our time and effort that we lost sight of why we are passionate about them. For this reason, if I find I am starting to not feel passionate about something anymore I start making a list. Yes, I AM that list person. Anyways, I start making a list of why I was passionate about it in the first place. If for some reason none of what is on the list rings true anymore, then I recognize it’s not something for me.

I have had things I have been passionate about that have relied on the people I was doing them with.  Which makes sense, sometimes our passions are brought to us by those around us.  This is why I have also taken the time to recognize it is the people around me I also need to be passionate about.

I need to be passionate about cultivating, nurturing and encouraging the relationships I have.  These can be personal or professional, but I find if I don’t also focus on the people then my passion for things can fizzle out.

Passions can be simple things, no one defines what your passions are except yourself.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
#beyoufindyou
Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

 

Crawl. Walk. Run.

A favorite idiom of mine is we must crawl before we walk, we must walk before we run.

I feel this applies to almost anything in life.  Before you can excel at something you must learn how to do it.  You must accept and be happy with pieces of you before you can be happy with your entire self.  To get over an ended relationship you must be able to get out of bed in the morning before you can go through your day.

I believe for anyone who has self confidence issues, you need to start by appreciating the “small” things about you.  You start small by appreciating the color of your eyes, your freckles, your smile or maybe it’s your sense of humor.  Recognizing and appreciating small things, like I just mentioned, are where you begin to crawl. Once you start appreciating that one thing about you, that you grow to love about yourself, or you believe is your best feature you start finding others.  

For instance, as I’ve mentioned before, I have curly frizzy hair in a world of pin straight hair.  For many, many years I used the word “hate” when I discussed my hair.  I would flat iron it constantly or put it up so that the curls were not visible.  Even when it was straight it had more volume than those around me and it was frizzy.  Finally when I hit high school I decided I needed to come to terms with the curls.  They were clearly not going away and my hairdresser at the time was constantly telling me I just needed to let them be and that they were in fact beautiful.  Slowly, in my own time, when I didn’t think many of my peers would see me, I would wear my hair curly on the weekends to allow myself to see it and appreciate it. I began to crawl.

Once you begin to crawl you want to walk right?  You start to get curious what the world looks like from two legs.  For this you start looking at who you are, what your morals are, what you are passionate about.  You begin to love your passion for woodworking, animals, art, reading, anything that you are passionate about.  You begin to recognize the parts of you that make you, YOU!  Not just the physical aspects of you but what some might call your morals, your soul, or your personality.  

When I was younger I got teased for being a “goodie two shoes”, I rarely took risks that others did, I never really lied to my parents, I didn’t smoke or drink in high school.  It’s not how I was raised and honestly not what I wanted to do.  I spent time with my family, stayed home and watched movies with them, my sister is and was my best friend.  Family is what I am passionate about, this is how I walk.

When you run, that’s the best feeling.  I believe when you run it is you running head on at life.  You have the self-confidence in not just your physical appearance but how you present yourself to the world.  Having found what makes your life meaningful, whether it be family, a sport, an activity, anything at any given moment that can put a smile on your face.  The running step in this idiom to me is all about how you personify yourself.  These last few years, while I began working on this blog, I ran the fastest I have ever run.  I had the confidence in myself to cut off all of my hair into a pixie cut, put myself out there in relationships and lastly put myself in front of those at work to get to where I wanted to be in the company.  I ran and took risks and I don’t regret it for one moment.  It’s been clarifying and eye opening on how much I have grown as a person.

Now when we do the reverse, when we run before we crawl, we can hurt ourselves.  When you believe you’re the hot shot in art class, you’ve been told you can paint the best fruit bowl, feels good doesn’t it?  However then the teacher says the next piece you do will be in charcoal and you just come up with a black blob, do you get frustrated?  Do you feel deflated?  You might, then your circle of self doubt could start over again, you could spiral down fast and never go to an art class again.  I’ve seen it happen, heck I’ve done it personally.  You know the most disappointing thing, I ended up being my own worst enemy.  

What we need to truly remember is that when we are able to see the little things in ourselves that are what we find the most attractive, then truly others will.  If they don’t, are they really worth it?  So let’s crawl, walk and run together and find ourselves.

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
#beyoufindyou
Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

Your Influencers

You know you’ve heard it from the adults in your life, let’s just count an adult anyone your parents age or older.

The friends you have, the people you spend your time with, make you who you are.

They help mold your ideals, your thoughts, your morals. I have had my own experiences as well as witnessed people I grew up with influenced by people around them. Now, if you are reading this and saying to yourself “I’m not influenced by any one,” good for you!  I ask you to just keep reading anyway, or you can just stop here, it’s up to you I won’t be offended.

When we are kids your family is your influential group. My parents influenced me to enjoy classical music, especially Andrea Bocelli. My mother influenced me to enjoy cooking. My dad has had me on a computer since I can remember, so his influence has helped me to be fluent on a computer much earlier on than most.  My sister influenced my ideals of friendship and was my first friend.  I won’t say there weren’t times I wish I didn’t have a sister but more often than not I remember pointing out that she was my sister and being proud.  I wasn’t someone who disliked having a sister and was never ashamed to say she was mine. 

As I got older my friends also became influences on my life. They influenced me to swear, they influenced me to lie to my parents, which was never successful by the way. They influenced me to judge people, most of all judge myself.

I judged myself every morning, before I would let them judge me. I beat myself up before they could. I can pinpoint when I started to really have self-image issues in fifth grade. I had cut my hair incredibly short, so I got called “mushroom head,” at that age you think no big deal they’re just kids.  Those words though have lasted to this day, since then I have cut my hair just as short twice, until most recently.  While writing this over the last year, I cut my hair down to a pixie cut.  I had been debating it for a year and then decided Memorial Day weekend that I’d call my hairdresser and if she had an appointment that day I’d do it and guess what…SHE DID!  It was a HUGE change and with curly hair I looked entirely different from those other girls who had pixie cuts.  It has been a test of my self confidence and has been a whole new learning curve the whole time.  It took me almost twenty years to feel comfortable again in my own skin and with my own identity to cut all of my hair off.

Learning to love myself again “without” the hair that has defined me for so long has been thrilling and scary.

Throughout my life and especially during this phase of short hair, my self-confidence has wavered from okay to down right gross, always comparing myself to other girls. At one point, when I was younger I felt so gross, so low, so poorly about myself that I thought cutting myself would cause relief. It did not, but it happened because of media influences as well as the people I had around me.  I saw others around me handling their anger, sadness, and depression in that way and thought, “Why not try it?”.  After that I was incredibly ashamed and swore I would never do it again.  I realized that self harm, physical self harm, did nothing except hurt and gave me a physical reminder of the low point in my life.  Why would I want a reminder of that?  Why would I want a reminder of a really low point instead of having a reminder of something happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are many I know who have these scars and look at them as growing pains, they went thru something and made it out the other side.  

**In no way am I stating that self harm is okay or acceptable to deal with things that are going on in your life.**

I am merely acknowledging that it happens to many whether it be cutting, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders and any other type of harm one can cause to oneself.  I recognize it occurs as something that we feel we can “control” but many times I have seen where it ends up controlling someone.

As I’ve gotten older, I have begun to recognize and see when people influence my thoughts. In college, a few people I spent time with, were incredibly judgmental of others and I began judging people again. I felt gross when I did it, I knew it wasn’t right and I knew it wasn’t nice.  I didn’t like how I felt when I did it because again, I then began to judge myself.  I won’t lie, it’s sadly human nature to judge however, I now choose to fill my life with people who choose to be understanding and acknowledge no human being is perfect. I work very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not judge them on how they look, how they dress, how they talk, or how they act.  

People around us influence our thoughts, actions, and emotions in many different ways.  If you continue to fill your tribe, support system, group, friends etc. with people who are constantly in fear, doubt, shame, sadness, nervousness, and negativity most often that is what you begin to feel like.  If you surround yourself with people who admit their faults, honest, kind, happy, positive, accepting; you find yourself reflecting those things back and living your life a bit differently

As Thumper said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Try it, give yourself a month, look at your friends and see who has a good outlook on life versus the one’s who are a bit more negative. Try spending a week solely with the friends who have a good outlook, then spend a week with the friends who are a bit more down. How do you feel? What are your thoughts like? Are you happier with one over the other? If you can’t tell after a month give it a little longer.

You do not HAVE to do this, it’s food for thought. It is to get you to think, if you can change how you think about yourself by who you spend time around shouldn’t you try it?  If you’ve had your own experiences like this share them with me!

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
#beyoufindyou
Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com