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Variety is the spice of life

Nurturing

Mental Health
Jannah Walshe

Have you ever heard it said, “find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life?”
But it is not always so easy to find that love. “What are you going to do?” or “what do you want to be?” are typical questions for school/college leavers. But as we know, what we are good at, want to do and what we are passionate about in life, is not always clear cut. Knowing what we want to be is hard. And is there even just one thing? Is it possible to find our passion?
Young children will try many things. They don’t have the thought processes yet that will tell them not to do something because they won’t be good at it. They do it. If they enjoy it they keep doing it. If they don’t enjoy it, they stop and quickly move onto something else. As they get older many factors will push them in certain directions. They find what they most enjoy doing. They learn what they are good at and not so good at. They are influenced by what their friends are doing. They get opportunities to spend time doing certain things and not others.
So, the question is: are passions found or are they developed? And the quick answer is probably that both are true.

Innate abilities
We may have some innate abilities that can be discovered. With focus on these areas, we develop our skills and competence and become more passionate about it as a result. Passions are not found already fully formed. We can certainly find or know what interests us and use that as a springboard to our passion.
The way to do this is to look at what types of things you typically like to do. Do you like to be outside or indoors? Do you like to be active or still? Do you like noise or quiet? Do you like routine or spontaneity? How do you like to relax? If you were by yourself for one week with no commitments, what would you do? What types of things would you be thinking about? The answer to these questions are all clues as to what you really like to be doing. Then following on from that, how can you integrate more of that into your life?
It is not necessary to spend an eternity introspecting about what your perfect passion is. If you’re unsure of what it is that you enjoy or are passionate about, take the child’s view. Try many things and just see what you enjoy the most. Spend time doing a variety of things until you want to spend more time doing one or more of them. Build on that and pick a career path that works with these interests.
‘Find Your Passion’ is not always the best advice because we are not always sure if we have a passion or what it might be. Instead focus on those small things that make you happy on a daily basis and build from there.

Jannah Walshe is a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Castlebar and Westport. A fully accredited member of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, she can be contacted via www.jannahwalshe.ie, or at info@jannahwalshe.ie or 085 1372528.