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Define Yourself By What You Love

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 getting things done.

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:


Monday 25th of December 2017

I love this! I am hoping to go back to university shortly to study social work, do you have any advice for those looking to become sociak workers in the future?


Monday 25th of December 2017

Thank you for the comment! I'm glad to hear you are thinking about social work! My advice would be to just know that social work can be difficult and it is not at all glamorous, but it is so very important. Remember that while we want to help everyone, it is just impossible to help every single client we will have in our lifetime. If you go into it remembering that the work will most likely touch you personally at some point and have an open mind, you will do great! Best wishes and if you have any questions, please ask! I'd be happy to help! Carissa


Saturday 23rd of December 2017

I am still struggling to find the things that I really love and is passionate about. This was really a great post which got me thinking about making a change in my life. I was hoping to see the video, but I got this error " Tim Minchin -..." The YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement".


Saturday 23rd of December 2017

Thanks for reading! I'm glad it helped you start thinking :) I have updated the link, thanks so much for letting me know!


Friday 22nd of December 2017

I love this. How easy is it to list off all the things we hate but how often do we take inventory of the things we love? What a great personal exercise especially with the new year right around the corner?!