Passion and Compassion—Is It Selfish to Follow Your Bliss?
Does focusing on your highest passion in life make you feel like some kind of self-centered jerk? Who do you think you are?
Do you feel too guilty to charge a living wage to do work that you find fun, like maybe you should just be grateful to do it at all?
Do you feel like your work isn't useful enough because it's "only" beautiful?
Is loving your life not enough, because other people don't love theirs?
Why? Do you think suffering helps anyone? Is that how you think you should spend your life? You're only you once—really think about what you want to do with that!
Boldly following your dreams and creating the work you are most passionate about can bring up a surprising amount of guilt and fear. It's not really you though—all this negativity is just a side-effect of choosing a path that goes against the grain. It means facing hidden beliefs about yourself and the world that most people might not have to face—unless they run into someone like you.
If you feel guilty or judged for choosing the path that makes you the most happy, even if it doesn't hurt anyone, know this:
You don't need to sacrifice yourself because it might help people feel more comfortable about their own choices. They are not your responsibility.
There will always be suffering somewhere, and hurting yourself won't alleviate it. Self-compassion sets a good example though.
It's not selfish to take care of yourself. It's not selfish to do what you need to be healthy and happy and whole.
And it's important that you are as responsible for your wellbeing as possible, for everyone's sake!
This means relearning what actually constitutes a need—not a want, not a compulsion, not an obligation.
This means relearning to notice the needs you are used to leaving ignored—addressing that chronic pain, that stress and anxiety, that deep longing.
Giving compassion and assistance to those who truly need it is important and necessary, but learning how to provide it to ourselves first plays an essential role in that! And it would be a great relief. Much unhappiness, burnout, and health crises would be averted. The positive impact on all of society would be immense!
So let's be clear.
Doing what you love is not a selfish luxury—it's a need—and it's far from selfish! It feeds and heals your body and mind from the deepest level. It is an essential part of your wellbeing, and the overall wellbeing of our world. It may seem frivolous on the surface, but could be the most practical thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you.
Everything you do for yourself, you do for everyone.
Loving yourself is loving everyone.
Passion allows compassion.
It's up to you to decide how much of your time and energy to dedicate to doing what you love, but I'd challenge you to look at how much you use now, and increase it just a little. Schedule it. Prioritize it. Redefine it as a true need! Then keep going until your whole life is infused with an amazing, infectious, inspiring joy.
If you need more help, check out Create Now.
Rather than tucking it all away in books or paid courses, I would love to keep this information flowing freely to everyone. Doing this takes takes real time, energy, and money though, so if you would like to support this work you may help by buying my book or leaving a donation. If spending money isn't an option, that's okay! Sharing my work with your friends would be great too.