The other day, my sweet friend, Sarah, posted a link to an article (“You’re Not Meant To Do What You Love. You’re Meant To Do What You’re Good At.” ) on her Facebook feed with the glowing review of, “This is exactly what I needed to hear right now.” (I invite you to read the article for yourself first, before reading the rest of my article here because I do provide “spoilers.”)
I was excited to read it. Thinking I was about to embark on a surprising adventure that was glorious and uplifting, I clicked the link, and dove into the article. Imagine my surprise when I actually felt myself cringing and groaning out loud. Loud enough that my daughter, from the other room, asked me what was happening.
“I’m reading an article that makes me want to shoot myself.”
“Maybe you should stop reading it then,” she replied.
Oh! The wisdom of youth!
I couldn’t stop reading though. With morbid fascination, I read on, feeling my frustration mounting with alarming intensity. Something about the message delivered through this article, was causing such irritation for me that I had to pull back from the computer and really look at what was happening internally for me.
First off, I hadn’t had my coffee. Had to fix that.
Once I finished my coffee, I went back to the article and reread it, allowing my thoughts, emotions, and judgments to bubble up to the surface until I could create form with them. What tumbled out was this:
Now that I have had my coffee, I can respond a little more. LOL Be ready for a dissertation, my friend!
First off, the tone of this article came across to me as rather judgmental. “We’re doing people an incredible disservice by telling them they should seek, and pursue, what they love.” Why in the hell CAN’T people pursue what they love??? Good grief, that is what established this country. The British left their country in pursuit of happiness and liberty, in pursuit of the freedom to follow what lit them up. If people are unable to pursue what they love, what is the point of living??? The next sentence, “People usually can’t differentiate what they really love and what they love the idea of,” attempts to explain the concept, but how do people find out what they truly love if they don’t try all the things they feel like they *could be* passionate about?
My experience has shown me that I learn best by *doing* something. In 2004, I entered massage school, knowing all the while that I did NOT want to become a massage therapist. I was good at massage. But I didn’t love it. I could see that it WASN’T the reason I was here. And the more I made myself do something I was “good at,” the more miserable I got. It is the path, though, that led me to my passion and purpose: energy healing. I still maintain my massage license, even though I no longer do massage and haven’t since 2005, because I am grateful for all that I learned there, but that was NOT my passion.
In 2010, I went back to college to pursue a masters degree to become an educational psychologist because I LOVE both teaching and supporting others in getting clear in their life and figured it to be the best of both worlds. Within two weeks *prior* to the start of my first semester, when I finished the first assignment for the upcoming semester – interview someone in the position you desire to have – I realized that I had NO desire, actually, to teach in the education system that exists in the US right now. The system is utterly broken beyond words and I did not have the impetus, energy, or passion enough to pioneer a new one that will need to be created to embrace a teacher such as me. So I scrapped that path and continued forward in an entirely different direction: graphic design. I’m good at it; I may even love it. But… it’s NOT what I’m here to do. And while I can do it for a good long time, if I get lost in the world of graphic design and ignore my passion of healing, I begin to grow restless and discontented.
There is difference between doing what you love and MAKING it to be your living, loving how you make your living, and understanding how to create a living through what you love. And as Elizabeth Gilbert pointed out so eloquently in Big Magic, if you force your passion to be your living, you will rob your life of joy, especially if your passion is creative or esoteric. Finding a way to create a financial income through something that lights you up while you pursue your passion on the side until it becomes fluid enough to become your living is the perfect balance.
The other thing that bothered me was this: “If everybody did what they thought they loved, the important things wouldn’t get done. To function as a society, there are labors that are necessary. Someone has to do them.” This section seems to state that *no one* could actually love to clean houses because the author loathed cleaning houses. This is categorically untrue! I have known people who are passionate about cleaning and have actually been sad because they are doing “higher work” because everyone told them that what *they* loved to do was for “lesser, uneducated people.”
What I see as being the problem with this argument of “doing what you love” vs. “doing what you’re good at” is that people are more willing to listen to what others are telling them that what they love is unable to make them money. Society has created this ego-driven belief construct around judgment of others abilitie’s, passions, what is logical, what is not, what is “important,” what is “necessary” and MUST be done so SOMEONE has to do them.
I believe that what ALL humans are here to do is what lights them up, what they are passionate about. We feel passionate about it because that is the energy of creation. That is our “godspark,” that which brings into existence what wasn’t here before. Everything – EVERYTHING – that is here on this planet came through someone who was willing to be creative and think outside the box and follow a passionate curiosity. I believe that IF everyone on this planet WAS doing what they love, there would be peace and we would live in harmony. I believe the dissonance that is on this planet is a direct reflection of the inner dissonance caused when people are forced to do what is “important” and “necessary,” but is not their passion.
And OH MY GOD! “Everything is work. Everything is work. Everything is work. There are few jobs that are fundamentally “easier” than others, whether by virtue of manual labor or brain-power. There is only finding a job that suits you enough that the work doesn’t feel excruciating. There is only finding what you are skilled at, and then learning to be thankful.” Jesus! THAT right there is a recipe for a life of no joy and “making things work.” Everyone has the divine right to be joyful and do what they love. And for some people, what they love changes frequently. For some people, they don’t know or find what it is that they love until they try many different hats first. But, the pursuit of passionate expression of self IS, in my opinion, the reason we are here.
“There’s more to your life than just what you think will make you happy. Your real talents may not stroke your ego as much, but if you apply to them the kind of higher thinking that allows you to find the purpose within them, you will be able to get up every single day and work diligently. Not because you are stoking your senses and stroking your ego, but because you are using what you have.” … Shoot me! This paragraph hurts me to read. It is actually suggesting that people give up on the pursuit of discovering their loving path. WE ARE CREATED FROM LOVE. WE ARE MEANT TO *BE* LOVE! WE ARE MEANT TO LIVE LOVE!
Each and every one of us came here with EVERYTHING we needed to BE who we are meant to be. EVERY one of us, from that very first spark inside our mother’s womb was who we were meant to be. We had to do nothing; our cells knew what to do. We followed the divine impulse to grow and expand. And, in my experience, I have come to the awareness that what I am here to do IS what I love to do! Whether or not it creates money. Whether or not others judge it to be “important” or “necessary.” I make pretty things. I write words to move myself and others. I research history because it fascinates me. I BE with others who need someone to listen to them, hear them, hold space for them. NONE of what I DO/BE is either “important” or “necessary” based on the judgment of the external world. To me, though, to do none of these things would be a slow death for me. And I know that. Because I spent the majority of my career doing what I was just “good at” because that was what I was “supposed to do.”
I invite you to share in the comments below what your experience was of the first article and what your points of view are about it, or about what I have written in response to it. I love learning about what other people think and would welcome a lively interchange about this topic.
Blessed be, my friend. And I pray that YOU are living a life you love!