Living with Passion

I realized that I have made a mistake. As a child and a girl, I was a passionate person. My emotions have always been strong and visceral. I wore my heart on my sleeve and I always had a strong sense of what other people were feeling as well. In my life, I learned that strong emotions were not valued. I was teased mercilessly whenever I showed my feelings through emotions. I learned how to save my emotions for only me. As time went on, I learned how to punish myself for being emotional until I didn’t feel them anymore. Once I disowned them, they were no longer in my control or my awareness. The disowned emotions became a source of pain. In an effort to not suffer the pain, I would try to numb myself.  The ways that I would numb myself would only release the emotions, so it was an ineffective cycle.

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. – John Maxwell

What I realize now is that there was nothing wrong with me. My passion was not appreciated by people who had disowned their feelings. People don’t want to see in you what they don’t want to see in themselves.  They don’t want to be reminded of what is going on inside of them, so they will criticize or hurt you in an effort to control their own feelings and emotions. The problem I had is that the loss of passion cost me so much more than some tears. I lost my passion for life. For me, living in a world that didn’t allow me to feel was like living in black-and-white instead of color. I was in emotional prison. It felt like the only time I was allowed to feel was when I wasn’t in complete control of myself. I thought partying was a way to release myself from the constant control going on inside me.

As I grew older, I found more ways to deny myself of passion. I chased a career that looked great on paper. I ignored the things that I loved and that made me happy and replaced them with things that I thought would get me validation. At the same time, something deep inside me would not allow me to fully commit to the material trappings that would have indebted me into a life that would make everyone happy, but me. Now, I can only call that grace. Even when I tried to accomplish all the wrong things, I was stopped every time by unforeseen issues, troubles and, what looked like, trials. They were actually stopping me from locking myself into the wrong life, a life without passion. So, here I sit. I am 34 years old, I don’t have anything that I thought I wanted, but I couldn’t be happier.

I understand now that I have been avoiding my purpose and living without passion. What I am passionate about is typing these words to you, learning about life and expressing myself. I’m no longer scared of those emotions and I don’t really care if they bother others. In a world that doesn’t value emotion and tries to control them at every minute, I am someone that can read them, display them and empathize. I consider it a gift that even after all that I have been through that I am not jaded. I can tap into my emotions at will. I feel and I feel deeply. If I didn’t feel and love passionately, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I wouldn’t be doing all the research that I am doing. Even though I might have been in the wrong career at times, I was always in the right capacity. I was focused on people, their emotions and trying to make their lives better. This is my purpose. My purpose is to use my emotions to connect with others and to help them make their lives better. I am sympathetic to anyone that has learned that their emotions aren’t of value, as I did. They are immensely valuable. They are the proof that you feel. As long as you are feeling and loving, you are living.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. Nelson Mandela

I am taking my passion back. I have the courage to live my life in full color. I don’t want to allow anyone to convince me to live as less than my purpose.  It’s better to live as myself with passion than it is to die a little bit every day as someone else. What are you holding back from doing because others might criticize you? What are you passionate about? What if you followed that passion? Can you give yourself permission to feel deeply, even if it is scary and inconvenient to others?