The word passion is flung around a lot in the creative realm, both in our interactions, and in our personal lives. We hear phrases like: “Follow your passion.” “Be passionate about what you do.” “What are you passionate about?”

To me, passion has become equivalent to the feeling of repeating a word so much it becomes foreign, stripped of all meaning throughout the context of redundancy.  I love being passionate, and have probably used the word 99.9% of the time without a true grasp of what I’m actually talking about.

Before we can ask what is passion, we have to ask what of passion - how does my experience of passion effect my worldview of what passion is. Confronted with passion can often turn us away from actually pursuing passion in a healthy way. Here are some ways my interaction often can lead me down a unhealthy path of passion.

Confusing:  Passion can be confusing, equivalent to stumbling into that friend of a friend you hope would notice you, but you can’t remember their name. You try to pretend you know them but only end up having one of those halting awkward conversations where you keep interrupting each other about the weather. We walk away not knowing what to do with what we feel about passion other than it can be awkward and lead us into places we don’t have answers. The uncomfortable place of not knowing, or not in control can leave us walking away with the resolve to not let that happen again.  

Rational: Passion can lead you to react in the opposite way, when the voice of passion comes bouncing along, its brutally decapitated by the voice of reason. Reason that condemns us for believing we are gifted for a purpose, that to follow your passion is a waste of time because passion are nothing more than wishful thinking. Passion can’t pay the bills, jobs can.

Disappointing: Passion can be disappointing. When you act on beliefs that are fueled by emotions they can lead you to make bold and radical steps- steps that do not always lead to happy endings. We can find ourselves feeling gypped, like a jaded lover who’s been betrayed, sold out by what we felt so sure of.

If we only live out of passion, we forgot what passion is. The core value of what passion actually is to us personally, not just based of experiences. To understand what we are passionate about, we need to stop talking of passion, what it's not, and start asking what is passion.

Next week I will approch what passion is for me personally and the way I have come to recognize passion as fruitful and helpful. These are not the end-all ultimatums of passion, these are simply ways I have discovered passion to be understood and lived out.