Theo Tsaousides, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist, speaker, and author who wrote an article in Psychology Today comparing Passion and Obsession. Even though this piece was published in 2016, the information is still totally relevant today, maybe even more so after the strange year so many of us have experienced.
In yesterday’s post, I encouraged you to consider whether any of your passions (exercising, blogging, politics etc have morphed into obsessions.) Dr. Tsaousides provided the following guidelines to check whether our passion has crossed the line:
- Is there a positive balance between pleasure and pain? Do you feel anxious when you can’t pursue your passion or guilty when you spend too much time on it?
- Are you able to “plug” your passion into your day at appropriate times or does it swallow up other priorities?
- Can you shelve your passion at will? If you are busy with other things, out of town or someone needs you, can you go cold turkey?
- Can you choose what to do based on what you think and not how you feel?
- Can you honestly assess the sacrifices you might be making to pursue your passion?
- Are you able to delay your passion to the end of the day or does that create anxiety?
- Ask yourself why you are pursing your passion. Is it for the joy of the activity itself or are you doing it for some other, secondary reason?
Again, this has been a strange year full of compensatory activities. Stress inducing and stress reducing pursuits have both battled for our attention. Have we devoted too much of ourselves to “a thing?” Have we lost track of the cost of our passion? (financially, relationally, physically, spiritually, emotionally?) Have our priorities shifted? If so, why and again, what has that cost us? Has a productive and positive pursuit become a net negative? Would you say your life is as balanced as it can be under this year’s circumstances?
And my favorite questions:
Is your passion opening up your life or shutting it down,
drawing people in or pushing them away,
helping you grow or making you more rigid
bringing you joy?
It never hurts to take a moment to ask the tough questions.