Monday, September 8, 2014

Got Passion?

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. ~Oprah Winfrey

The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last. ~Nicholas Sparks

I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly. ~Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Passion: A strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something - Merriam-Webster dictionary

What are YOU passionate about? Many of my clients begin a program with me in search of a way to fix something that they don’t like about themselves – most often it is their weight. “No, I’m not interested in working on the emotional stuff,” I’ve been told by clients when I explain to them the interconnectedness between how they treat themselves physically, and how they feel mentally/emotionally, “I just want to know how to eat right.” It feels much safer to ignore the feelings part of us, but unfortunately the feelings part of us never gets the memo…

It often doesn't take very long for a client to bring up the emotional reasons for why they treat themselves with neglect – why they punish themselves… why they use negative self-talk… why they deserve particular things that – while they may taste good – only contribute to poor health and dissatisfaction with the size of their waistlines… and in a safe environment they see it… the really hear themselves...

Then a light bulb comes on, and we end up delving into the emotional stuff…

Like a young child in the beginning stages of a tantrum, if we ignore our emotional self (or any part of us that is trying to send us a signal) it will only escalate its attempts to get our attention until we can no longer ignore it. This escalation is sometimes in the form of binging and purging, food deprivation, poor decisions with intimate relationships, and/or other forms of self-neglect/abuse.

Often, at the root of the emotional stuff is a lack of passion, or rather a lack of willingness to explore true passions. This lack - this hole - triggers a near insatiable hunger. Sometimes this is caused by a bad case of self-consciousness and conformity-at-all-costs, thanks to authoritarian conditioning throughout childhood. Sometimes, there are different yet equally impactful roots. Being different, standing apart from the crowd feels dangerous. Living in emotional bondage is what's actually dangerous. Eventually something has to give.

When we don’t give ourselves permission to explore and pursue our TRUE passions, the human urge to express “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement” is misdirected toward outlets that are less than healthy. Keeping a lid on our passions (whether intentional or not) keeps our lives flat and dull. A flat and dull life causes us to covertly seek strong feelings without an accurate roadmap (or "nav system"). We end up lost, confused, injured, and inefficient at living the life that we were put on this earth to live.

Now, I am not advocating the abandonment of one’s responsibilities for the sake of pursing a life as a circus performer (if that’s your passion and you have a mortgage and/or dependent children, it’s best if you wait until the kids are gown and the house is paid for or sold…), but maybe you’ve been struggling with feeling OK about pursuing your passion for art or music. Perhaps your dormant passion for connecting on a personal level with others kept you silently suffering through a career in accounting rather than counseling, nursing, or teaching. Have you had secret desire for a particular hobby or pursuing a particular skill? Fears about others thinking us silly or unambitious are often based on the misdirected assumption that others are even worrying about it in the way that you think they are. And if they actually are, so what?

What’s your TRUE passion? What’s keeping you from it?

Author Elly Haddad is a certified holistic health and wellness coach and founder of Elemental Fit, based in Nashville, TN. She helps individuals and groups understand the important influence that diet & lifestyle have on health, happiness, & overall wellbeing. Elly is also a writer and public speaker, conducting workshops and seminars throughout the US. She can be contacted directly via email here

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