There is SO MUCH pressure from society to ‘find your passion.’ There is this expectation that we must all have our life purpose figured out, but the average person is just figuring things out as they go. This mentality can be more hurtful than helpful. Here is why finding your passion is overrated.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I was 14 I got the idea into my head, thanks to the pressures of society, that I needed to know what I was going to be when I grew up. I needed to know my path, what my passion was, what my career would be, and how I was going to get there. I was just a freshman in high school but I suddenly had this heavy weight and expectation that I should have my future figured out.
All through high school and then college was just this endless question “what do I want to be?” both in my head and from at least 90% of the adults I encountered. It felt like torture, everyone expected me to know what I was doing with my life but I had no idea. It made me so uncomfortable that I avoided going around certain people and places.
Then the question that always follows my wary “I don’t know” is “well what’s your passion?”
I don’t know that either Susan! Can I live?
So I, and I expect many others, have been searching high and low for this elusive passion that is gonna give my life purpose and joy or whatever.
People push this idea that once you find your passion everything in your life will just fall into place. You’ll have it all figured out and cruise through adult life. Some people are born knowing what they’re passionate about or they figure it out early and that’s cool, congrats to them!
However, a lot of us don’t have a clue. We look, and look, and look. We try different things, we read endless self help books, we watch all of the ted talks, we listen to podcasts, all in the hope that some light bulb will go off and FINALLY we’ll know what our passion is and it’ll change our lives (or is it just me?).
But sometimes we just don’t have this great magical passion! Or we have a bunch of little ones but they come and go with the phases of our lives.
Maybe your passion is cuddling your pet or cooking or watching movies or laying by the pool in the summer. But those are things you do, they don’t necessarily define your life path. And that’s ok. That’s normal.
I recently listened to Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic) on Oprah’s podcast (linked below). Gilbert talked about a letter she received from a woman who’d felt very hurt after hearing her speak about “finding your passion” at an event. This woman had been searching for her passion her whole life and hadn’t found it. She felt like a loser and a failure because this big important thing everyone else had she couldn’t find.
I related to that woman 100%. All this pressure does is create stress and anxiety. It creates this feeling of lacking something that everyone else has, like there is something wrong with us.
So I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t found your passion in life that’s ok. If you don’t have anything figured out that’s ok. Finding your passion is overrated. I would love for us to be able to stop torturing ourselves with this idea that we should all have a passion and live life the best we can.
Instead lets focus on just enjoying life as it comes. Do what makes you happy as often as you can. Try new things just to try them, instead of with the expectation that this is going to be ‘the thing’
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