Do you ever find yourself struggling to determine what your passions are? Do you ever wonder if you actually have any passions at all? I know how you feel! A year and a half ago my response to the question 'what are your passions?' was a shoulder shrug and a moment of intense panic. Frustrated and exhausted by the constant battle with anxiety I was experiencing, I decided to take steps towards rediscovering myself and identifying the things that make me tick. Here's what I learned along the way about finding your passions:
I soon realised I was struggling to identity my passions because I wasn't spending time tuning into my intuition and following the things I instinctively found interesting. I resolved to begin paying attention to the world around me, cultivating curiosity by exploring anything and everything that caught my attention. I signed up for a tarot reading course as the notion of using tarot as a tool for clarity, understanding and growth instantly appealed to me. I began attending Reiki sessions because I wanted to see if energy healing could really help lessen my anxiety, and I began meditating because I was keen to quieten my mind and carve out a few moments of peace every day.
Having always liked to write, and having stumbled upon a few beauty and lifestyle blogs, I decided to give blogging a go and start my own. I didn't have a clue about design, about HTML, about any of the technical aspects of running a blog, but once I'd published my first post I didn't look back. Over time I've moved from beauty to lifestyle to relationships and wellbeing, with each new blog utilising the skills and experiences developed within the previous one.
I didn't overthink these initial sparks of interest; I merely decided to follow them and see where they would lead me. Turns out, they would lead me to my passions.
Take a passion inventory
I figured it could be useful to review various stages of my life and hunt for clues as to where my passions might lie. When I was little I was adamant I wanted to be a writer and a nurse when I grew up. At school I enjoyed creative writing and English Literature above all other subjects, and I kept diaries faithfully throughout my teen years. I liked writing about life, about people, about relationships. When it came to work, the common thread weaving its way through my roles as Waitress, Learning Support Assistant and Careers Information Officer was an enjoyment and satisfaction in connecting with people and helping them in some way.
Reflecting on my interests shown over time enabled me to identify common themes and patterns. Writing has always been a hobby of mine, as has 'healing', helping and wellbeing. Having reflected on my past, I was better able to embrace my present by spending time on these fields of interest, sculpting and polishing them into true passions.
Confide in friends
While writing a blog post one morning, a sudden realisation hit me. I hastily typed an email to MC, one of my closest friends. 'I want to write! Writing is what I enjoy! Writing about marriage and relationships is my passion! Do you think I'm crazy?!' MC's reply caught me by surprise. 'No, Imy, I don't think you're crazy... because I've always known this is what you wanted to do! I'm just glad you've finally figured it out!'
Often our friends are able to identify our interests when we feel unable to. They've witnessed the glint in our eye when we're talking with enthusiasm about something; the determination and dedication we show towards topics and projects we're excited about. For a long time I was letting fear cloud my connection with myself, and hearing a friend's perspective helped jolt me out of that fear.
Hearing MC's evaluation of my interests and strengths provided a hugely helpful nudge in the right direction.
Quit trying to predict the future
I may read tarot, but I favour exploring present day situations rather than focusing on the future. The present is all we have at our disposal, and too much time spent trying to predict where your interests will take you is a sure-fire passion killer.
When I first started blogging I worried a lot. What if my blog wasn't good enough? Would blogging lead anywhere? If so, where? Was it all a huge waste of time? Such incessant worrying wasn't exactly making me fall further in love with writing! I needed to let go of my obsession with the future and simply enjoy where I was, today.
As soon as I changed my mindset from one of fear of the future to one of acceptance and curiosity in the face of uncertainty, the better able I became to focus on cultivating and enjoying my interests. I couldn't have foreseen that the rookie beauty blog I launched at the beginning of my blogging journey would one day lead to a blog I'm truly proud of and passionate about. I just kept going, relaxing into the journey and switching things up when they didn't feel quite right until I arrived at the writing platform that feels like the perfect fit for me.
Commit to taking one small step every day
I still have days fuelled by anxiety, during which I'm prone to thoughts of 'but do I really have any passions?' I've found that committing to taking one small step every day towards honouring my interests helps enormously when it comes to building my confidence and regaining an appreciation of, and focus on, the present. Whether it's setting aside time for a ten minute meditation, brainstorming blog post ideas, reading up on the latest tarot news or exploring wellbeing courses, if I can do one thing, no matter how small, I'm living my interests and passions every day. Those small steps soon lead to bigger ones.
Over time my passions began to emerge. I knew I'd hit upon true passions when certain topics, tasks and activities made my heart soar and absorbed all of my attention. Writing about marriage, relationships and wellbeing, providing intuitive tarot readings with an empowering present-day focus, exploring an interest in wellbeing and healing encompassing everything from Reiki to Aromatherapy, Reflexology to Rune reading. These are my passions. And I'm cultivating many more by remaining curious, embracing the present moment and committing to taking small steps every day.
Enjoy the journey, fellow passion hunters. Something tells me it's likely to be lifelong, and when approached with curiosity and an inquisitive streak, it turns out it can be both a hugely enjoyable and immensely satisfying ride.
Imogen writes about marriage, relationships and wellbeing at To Marry Completely