When we’re kids, our hearts are stuffed and bursting with so many things we want to do. Our eyes sparkle at every new thing, and we love so easily. As kids, we’re just doing what we love. Nothing else matters.
As we grow, our hearts get a bit trodden on by the have-to’s leaving little room for the joyful things anymore. Before you know it, like billboards blocking the countryside, the have-to’s are up front, blocking everything else out. Including our hearts. The have to’s become all we can see.
We can easily lose sight of what brings us joy. When we do things that we love, it is the glitter that sticks to the parts of us that inspire others, motivate us from the inside, and ultimately change the world. Some people love and are lit up by many more things than the rest of us. Easily amused or easily excited. I tend to fall into that category, although things like painting, writing, cooking and food tend to bring out my enthusiasm and uniqueness more loudly.
Doing What You Love is Fragile, Yet Fierce
On one hand, we have to nurture the things we love. That brings with it an element of vulnerability. We put our true selves out there in doing what we love, and we can feel exposed because of it. I feel that way about my art quite often. The timidity that can creep in when we stand apart in doing the thing we love, exposed to “helpful” people and critics judging your work through their own lens, sometimes clouded with their own experiences, or even jealousy.
If we persevere, we show that we’re fierce through nurturing our dreams. We embrace the things that speak to us. By keeping on doing what we love, we stand up to all the critics that told us our dreams are flawed, or advising that we “get a job.” We carry on beyond the contrary voices or paradigms steeped in fear, attempting to save us from ourselves by reminding us to be responsible, reasonable, and to follow the crowd.
Doing What You Love Takes Strength
The voices of practical reason fail to realize the difficulty involved in doing what we love. To keep doing something someone loves, even when life gets busy takes sacrifice. It takes an enormous amount of energy to get better at something after work, when we have to get a different job than we would like because our dream things don’t pay the bills. Yet. It takes determination to stick with our dreams, even when people may judge us for our style or our unique way of doing something, or doing something that is a bit off the wall, and not the popular vote.
Despite all of that, to keep on following our dreams and doing what we love requires strength of self, patience, and a big bucket of ear plugs to drown out everyone that doesn’t like what we do.
In general, we don’t like to see another soul’s heart buckling under the weight of the world. I know I don’t because I’ve been there and know that empty feeling of setting aside your dreams to do the practical thing. I know the feeling of setting something down to make space for having to pay the bills and being too tired to pick it up at the end of the day. When you cast off your dreams, or don’t nurture those things that make your heart joyful, life becomes gray. Even meaningless for some. And that is for only one reason.
We Are Here to Bring Joy
We are here to do those things that make us joyful. When you follow your bliss, you’re doing something good for yourself. When you’re doing what you love, you become energized. You feel alive. Excited! You need those things you love to get through the have-to’s and, we need you to do what you do, because it inspires the rest of us.
Not only do you we truly “see” you when you do what you love, but we see how that thing you do should be done. When you follow your bliss, you put your mark on the world and lend unique perspective. You give encouragement to those of us who might be buckling under the weight of the have-to’s, reminding us to keep going. You tell the rest of us that it can be done, and that we don’t have to listen to the ugly, negative voices telling us to stop being us, and stop being joyful.
Which is why it brings a tear of joy to my eye to see someone doing what they love. It is such a hard-won thing to do – and that amplifies the joy all the more – I would bet for the person doing what they love, but also in my witnessing their having persevered. They stuck with it. And now, they bring that joy back to us.
The Danger of Not Doing What You Love
In reality, the danger doesn’t lie in following your dreams. The danger lies in setting them aside with the belief that doing so is the practical and responsible thing to do. By doing things the way everyone else does, and failing to follow our hearts, we fail to give back to the world genuinely, with our whole selves. We are living at 50% capacity. Or worse, less. In doing so, we aren’t giving back the energy and lightness to those around us if we’re miserable and stifled.
When we are joyful, we are calm in our hearts. Energized. We feel like we have what we need to thrive. When we have what we need, we tend not to be angry, sniping, jealous loose cannons. We have space to help others.
For your health, your sanity, and for everyone out there that may be struggling to follow their hearts, follow yours, and keep doing what you love.