As I begin to write this article, I’m conscious the headline might be controversial for some. So I will address any possible misconception from the outset and confess that this is not about God. This is about you and me and our faith in our selves. Have some now and continue reading.
Living with passion is a goal I quietly pursue. ‘Quietly’, because when I hear someone described as passionate I conjure images of Steve Irwin and Anthony Robbins, and I’m certainly not vocal like those. No, my style of passion is more of a behind-the-scenes, never-say-die kind. It’s a relentless pursuit of my visions in the face of cynics staring me down.
The reason it’s vital for me to passionately pursue my dreams is because for a very long time, they eluded me. Between the ages of 13 and 39 I had recurring encounters with depression and anxiety. I’m now 46, and those years are well behind me, but the memories are fresh and serve as a reminder of a state of play I’ll never allow myself to return to.
During particularly blue episodes I’d watch others go about their day with direction and vibrancy and I’d wonder; how do they do that? What is it they have that I don’t? I on the other hand would flounder my way through speech and action, never certain of myself. Any glimpses I had of a bright future soon became clouded with drama, which strangely seemed to accompany my every move.
But at 39 and anxious after yet another failed relationship (which this time coincided with a family tragedy), I decided to delve into my psyche to discover why history kept repeating itself.
Why were these negative patterns in my life?
What did I need to do to break free?
There within I found an insecure little girl who didn’t trust herself, least of all her decision-making. Consequently, life for me was a series of poor choices made with lack of faith.
My standards were low. Inevitably, I chose less than suitable romantic partners. In employment; with the attitude that I was not good enough for the top jobs; I never aimed high enough. It was no wonder I was unfulfilled.
The realisation that I was going about life with the mindset of my younger, immature self was my moment of enlightenment. From that day, I no longer entertained the notion that “this is my lot”. The time had come to develop faith in the adult version of me. I took the reins, and in doing so I’ve never looked back.
Life blossomed when I began to believe in myself.
I started my own business, I faced relationships that challenged me and I said what I needed to say, all with less fear of being judged.
Where once I didn’t have the courage to share my thoughts, I spoke up. In moments when I would normally sacrifice my happiness for that of others, I undertook instead, to do my own thing.
These days, I’m more likely to be a leader than be led. And the little girl within feels great for it.
That’s the significance of believing. That’s what it means to me, to have faith.
Which brings me to today.
I’m enriched with an appreciation of life because now I truly feel like I’m living. I am with the right partner. My vision is clear and I am hell-bent on where my future lies in both career and lifestyle. You could say that I am passionate about living passionately.
I express this through my writing, with blog posts, poetry and quotes that encourage self-love. I want to inspire others to find their own voice and live life in accordance with their desires. That’s why I tag my work throughout social media with #SpeakUp and #DoYourThing.
While my passion is not currently earning me an income, who’s to say that monetary gain will never be? I believe in me, and I value integrity highly, so if I say I will succeed, it means just that; I will succeed. I just need some time to do my thing.
The conundrum in all this…
… Is that though I’ve got myself all sorted when it comes to having faith, others are testing my conviction. Those I love most don’t believe in my future the same way I do. They ask me questions which faith alone can’t answer like, “how will your work be discovered?” and, “how, precisely, are you going to earn a living from writing?”
I wish I could allay the cynics by quoting my blog’s tagline, “because I said so”! But just saying so isn’t enough. They want proof that my passion will manifest in dollar bills and this antagonises me, because proof plays no part in having faith. You simply need to believe. That’s the beauty of it.
I know that behind the discouragement lie people who genuinely care about me, but their skepticism hurts. I love these cynics, and I can’t help but be rattled. Self-doubt has crept back into my psyche. This is when my faith is most severely tested. It’s when I assess whether I believe in myself enough to continue down the path that burns passionately in my heart, or whether I allow that passion to be doused by my skeptic loved ones.
What to do?
Do I hold my ground, satisfy my passion and further incite those I care about most? Or appease them by returning to what I consider to be, a life inanimate.
Further adding to the conundrum is the subject of my passion.
Because my desire is to encourage people to live an authentic life by speaking up, and doing their own thing, wouldn’t I lose my credibility (my integrity), if I were to stop writing? After all, this is my way of speaking up and doing my own thing.
My blind faith makes the non-believers in my life uncomfortable. They would be more at ease if I returned to my life less aspiring. And once upon a time, crumbling and reverting to the mundane “better the devil I know” is exactly what I would have done under this pressure.
But my passion is too great, and I now believe that my success will be larger than the doubters can ever imagine. So I have no option but to keep copping the knocks and continue speaking up and doing my own thing.
This is what it means to me to have faith.
My loved ones won’t agree, but I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to have paid a price for what I believe in.