When Passion is a Requirement

Have you ever had the impression that people would like you to be more passionate about things than you can realistically be?

For many of us, it may seem like this, and all the more so we consider the media an important point of contact with the world. Morning shows, ads, life-style blogs, ads again, job offers, and for the final time, ads – all of them promote the images of passionate, energetic people who go about their daily activities with a smile running all the way around their heads.

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…Or throw books around themselves in a frenzy. Photo by Lacie Slezak

But it’s a silly approach where you show excitement as the only acceptable state to be in, tell your readers to boost their energy like it’s the only thing they can possibly need, or require a steadily exorbitant level of passion from job candidates.

It probably won’t be a surprise to you if I say that being in low spirits from time to time is only natural, that low-energy people can be happy in their lives just as well, and that a lack of┬ápassion doesn’t entail being no good at what you do in life.

The fact is that those periodically miserable, low-energy, unenthusiastic people can be just as good as friends, partners, parents, teachers, construction workers, artists, dentists and whatnot.

We are the way we are, and that’s okay.

Still… there’s always this shade of doubt when we think about ourselves, isn’t there? Whatever we do, it just doesn’t seem good enough when we compare it to the enterprises of the ideal, passionate people we’ve been trained to look up to.

Let me tell you a secret: I’ve struggled with my self-image as a writer for many years. Me writing + other people reading it + us together talking about me writing? No, that just doesn’t compute.

Why? Because I’m not passionate about writing, and how am I supposed to tell people that?

Let’s give it a try: I haven’t felt all my life that I should write. Holding a book with my name on it is not my biggest dream. I don’t wreck my sleep to write. My life is not defined by the stories I’ve written. Sometimes when I want something written, I force myself to write it because I have no enthusiasm for it. In fact, I suppose I’d be just fine without writing.

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Photo by Green Chameleon

It’s just that I like to write, and some people like my writing. But when I think that, panic enters the stage because it sounds so terribly insufficient that I want to withdraw all the signals I’ve ever sent to the world outside that yes, I want to be a writer. Because if I’m not passionate about it, I’m not a real writer, no?

This doubt has its effects on the work itself. As with writing, so with other hobbies and endeavours. Every so often, one gets discouraged by adverse circumstances. Or one lose interest in what one does, and may even forget about it for long stretches of time. Very often, one’s lack of passion translates into a lack of motive to develop your skills.

If you add this self-doubt to the fact the world favours passionate people, it’s easy to call oneself a good-for-nothing, lie down and be sorry for oneself.

But don’t do this just yet! Because I’ve some important things to tell you. Here they are:

I. You are fine the way you are. You don’t have to be passionate about something to “count as a valuable person”.

II. You can be good at things even if you’re not helped along by passion. Without it, it may just be slightly more difficult in certain respects.

III. After you’ve admitted that you don’t feel passionate about things, it’s time for you – not for anyone else who may see your lack of passion as a shortcoming – to decide what to do with your time, skills, and energy.

But I can’t help you with that last one. Too busy writing.

Finding A Voice

I haven’t been posting regularly for quite a while because I’ve been having difficulties with finding a voice that suits me. It seems that when you lose focus on your writing, it’s getting harder and harder to later figure out what you want to write about, and how to do it. That’s what happened in my case, and the dull-edged character my writing acquired as of late has been annoying me to the point where…

…I decided to change some things.

First of all, I’m considering switching to my native language. Writing in English is super-cool because you can reach a bigger audience, plus if writing in a foreign language makes you feel less exposed, as is does to me, you don’t have to struggle. But I guess I’m ready to take on the struggle now.

Also, some of the things that I want to write about, I want to write about them specifically for a Polish audience. I feel like matters of mental health are rarely approached with a healthy attitude around me so I decided to do a little something to maybe change this a bit. I know I won’t change much; I know I’ll still be hearing, or reading on the internet, the same old shit about the scary, dangerous, inhuman mentally ill people; but I really want to try and change this a little.

…So now you also know what the main topic will be. I decided to cut on other topics, though, so that my blog is less of a dump and more of a blog.

Expect some update about the Polish version of the blog some time soon, then.

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Finding a voice is important, not only for blogging, but in all kinds of communication. You probably know that you won’t get very far if what you say, and how you say it, doesn’t quite fit with what you think and care about. So you need a voice for that. I’m not writing about any voice, but neither am I writing about “your own, unique voice” – just one that suits you better. Go and find it, and so will I.