While scrolling through Facebook one day, I ran across a video of Tim Minchin giving a speech at the commencement ceremony for The University of Western Australia. His speech was wonderful and quite entertaining, but one thing he said really struck a chord with me. While taking about the nine life lessons, he mentioned that it’s important to define yourself by what you love. He goes on to tell the students to be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.
I saw this video at a time in my life where I had just left a job and was wondering what my next step would be. I wanted to find a career that I loved and that I could look forward to for the rest of my life. To find that, I needed to figure out exactly who I am.How do you even begin to define yourself? There’s a whole lot goin’ on here, I’m sure you feel the same way about yourself! Defining myself by what I love sounded like some great advice.
But why was it so hard for me to figure out what it was that I love? Aren’t I supposed to be the expert of myself? Of course I love my family, friends, pets, and chocolate. Aside from the obvious, what is it that I love? I can tell you a million things I hate. I really had to take a step back and find out who I am and what I’m passionate about in order to make what I wanted to happen, happen.
I could easily tell you who I was by defining what I loved when I was in my 20’s, but within the past few years I have changed significantly. I was married and had my first child, and in doing that I feel that I lost a little bit of connection with myself. I became so consumed with work and making sure my family was taken care of that I failed to really spend time getting to know my changing self, and what I valued now in comparison to the pre-wedding, pre-children Carissa.
I did some thinking and reflecting and was able to identify what I love. Understanding myself ultimately led me back to grad school to finish my master’s degree in social work. I spent some time thinking about what I was passionate about and what I loved. I love equality. I love fairness. I love helping. I love problem solving. I love advocating. I love thinking critically. I love educating others. I love listening. I love empowering others. I love collaborating. I love resources. Now that I can define what makes me happy, I will have a good chance of finding a career that I am excited about because I will be making a difference, and when I make a difference, it makes me happy. Social work is by no means easy or all sunshine and roses, but it will fulfill me and it is something I am passionate about. Read more about things I love here.
So, define yourself by what you love. Don’t focus on the things you hate or dislike. Give your time and energy to the things you love. I believe we will all be happier if we can set aside the negative and focus on the positive. Life is short and we’ve only got one. You might as well be happy!
See the video I saw on Facebook here: