Don't Ration Your Passion
By Ewa Schwarz
Being passionate is at the essence of being human. However, too easily as we get older we become more jaded, stuck and fearful. So many people succumb to the limitations placed on them by society and more importantly by believing in those limitations themselves. By limitations I mean any beliefs that prevent us from getting the full experience of life or any belief that causes us to think poorly of ourselves or others.
People get tired of challenges when they don't know how to look at challenges from the perspective of learning and finding solutions. If your point of view is that challenges are difficult, life then becomes even more difficult, creating more challenges, etc. Of course this adversely affects the physical body, contributing to dis-ease. At the very least you get "tireder" as you get older, losing the will to even try to experience passion. There is just no energy for it.
Passion does change and evolve from how we experience it in childhood, but it is always still there and available to us, whether it is experienced externally through our experiences or internally through our feelings. Being passionate about something externally is great in the short term, but what if that external source disappears. Can you still feel passionate inside of you?
How Passion is Slowly Closed Down
People don't often think to use the words passion or passionate to describe their children unless they are being described as being passionate about something. Yet all children are passionate by nature in simply how they experience life. They are full of zest and wonder. They really don't know yet about fear until it is taught to them and they have a series of fearful experiences of their own.
Unfortunately some children learn about fear only too quickly and their passion becomes closed off much to early. A scary world is not a passionate world. Some may argue that things like scary movies are fun and trigger passionate feelings, but the feeling you get, the rush of your fight or flight response, is not passion. Triggering fight or flight in any form is thrill seeking, which is not to be confused with the passion that is inherent within you.
To a child who experiences life in a fearful way, they do not dare express themselves for fear of getting hurt again. They will grow up with minimal passion unless they can open the door to their hearts again and feel free enough and safe enough to openly explore the world once again. As adults these wounded children will seek to experience passion through their partners, which we all know is not sustainable.
All children, when very young, pick up on their parents' fears, limitations, and insecurities, determining in their subconscious minds that they are somehow the cause for their parent's unhappiness or challenges. This puts a child into yet even more fear about what they don't understand, which makes them feel even more unsafe.
When a person (a child) is in fear, they make assumptions. They act out their fear by fight or flight in an attempt to protect themselves. But parents generally don't see it this way. They only see deliberate acting out and unknowingly punish their children for what ultimately is misunderstood and unresolved fears.
The Effects of Maturing on Passion
It does not help that mainstream society prefers that people act a certain way, talk a certain way, and look a certain way in order to be accepted. All children are eventually indoctrinated into some form of society where they are groomed to fit in. Be like this, but don't be like that.
It is the rare few who can fully throw off such stricture and truly feel free to be themselves in all environments. If you cannot freely express yourself, how can you be passionate? If you do not feel passionate about yourself, how can you freely express yourself? Another catch-22.
Passion evolves during puberty to include sexual feelings and exploration. There is literally an explosion of passionate feelings about just about everything. Teenagers don't know what to do with this newfound energy and their external struggles with their parents and others just reflect the inner turmoil within themselves. Because they don't understand what is happening for them, they feel intense fear in their subconscious. When they feel the pressure to fit in, their self-development becomes more confusing. Add to that parent's pressure and many boiling points are reached. There is not much guidance in this area for the world's young adults.
Most parents do no see how they add to the problem, thinking that they are only offering solutions. Yet parents guide their children to be more like them, for better or worse, essentially cutting down the passion for being unique.
As teens turn into young adults, these subconscious fears are well imbedded in their psyches, building up more and more until some point, sooner or later, this pressure will explode internally with just the right combination of external triggers. At that point it becomes a struggle for survival, with little to no room for living passionately.
Passion in Relationships
Eventually most people enter into relationships. They feel much physical and emotional passion in the beginning, which releases copious amounts of feel good chemicals into the brain. As two people start to spend more time together these intense passionate feelings start to fade.
Passion naturally changes and evolves as a relationship deepens. It is not the same rush as in the beginning, but it becomes more solid and less ephemeral. Love can even be passionate between friends. It is all about how the two people experience life together, not how they experience it through the other.
Many couples mistakenly interpret this evolution as dying passion. As this external source of passion diminishes, all those suppressed fears start to wiggle their way to the surface. People start to subconsciously view their partners from the perspective of these fears, and the fears start to feed. If left unchecked, they will gorge on the feelings of separateness and blame.
The only "passion" that remains for many couples are the "animated" feelings that come with the fights, with the anger, blame and hatred. But in reality this is not passion, as it is the opposite of love. Intense emotional reaction is not passion; it is a sign of inner imbalance. The perceived lack of passion in reality is the lack of passion within oneself and for oneself.
Without self-love there is no sustainable passion in a long-term relationship. People have affairs because they do not know how to feel passionate within themselves and seek others to make them feel passionate again. An analogy is that an affair is like a drug; it is a compensation for a lack within oneself, a chemically induced way to feel good.
Finding your Internal Passion
If you really want to experience passion, the source of it is internal. It is you being at peace with yourself and loving yourself. It is you loving being who you are, exactly as you are right now. There is such joy in loving all of your qualities because you then feel free to fully and completely express yourself, unencumbered by the fears of how you will be perceived by others or by the roles that you mistakenly think that you need to take on to mistakenly try to make others happy.
This inner freedom allows you to be spontaneous, to have fun, to fully experience life. It is not that you become a child again, but that you allow yourself to have the freedom of full expression. To understand this better, watch a toddler or a child at play, when they are not in fear.
They are completely unaware of who is watching them or how somebody might perceive them. They are fully absorbed in what they are doing. That is the essence that has passion built into it. That is where I want to bring you back to: your essence and your freedom, all while having adult responsibilities and challenges.
As another example, think of people that you have net or seen throughout your life. There are always people that everyone seems to like and admire, who seem to be like magnets, attracting people to them. If you look at the common denominator, you will find passion at the core of each of those people.
People who are passionate are easy to be around because they don't judge you. You feel freer around them. That is why people like to be near them! You can stretch the definition of passion to unconditional love. That is the ultimate culmination of passion. People have often described the overwhelming love and joy that they feel in the presence of an unconditionally loving person.
These magical people do not have any special skills or abilities different than yours. They are people who live within their passion to a degree that most of us cannot comprehend. And that is okay because we don't all need to be the same. We just need to find way to keep shedding these restrictions that we have upon ourselves to find our own version of inner passion.
You can learn to experience passion again. It is the best tonic for whatever ails you, for all your stress, for all your troubles, for your life experience. You have this one life. Live it with passion. Don't wait to do this; you need it, it is who you are. If you have locked yourself away, I say, let's look to find the key, so that you too can experience the fullness and richness of life and who you are.