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Passion Part 2: Passion as Suffering- Tony Daltoso, LMHC


While Passion as the Secret Ingredient is kind of sexy and at a minimum evokes curiosity, Passion as Suffering at a minimum sounds unpleasant and is likely to make many want to click past to another page. So I welcome and appreciate you reading this far because Passion as Suffering may be the most dramatic and immediate way More Passion can change your life for the better. 

The inspiration for this way of looking at passion comes from this Huffington Post piece by Christine Hassler a few years ago.

In it Hassler retraces the etymology of the word passion to its Latin roots and then back to the. famously known Passion of Jesus Christ. In this she encourages people to examine their hardships and painful experiences to find what they truly care about and for which they have conviction. She actually reframed those painful experiences as the preparation required for you to learn what you need to be who you were meant to be. 

I am going to take it a step further and suggest redefining Passion as “that which you are willing to suffer for.” You know something is your Passion when you find yourself willing to sacrifice for it. 

Many a starving artist has said to be “Suffering for their art.” This is passion. The countless stories of Olympic athletes who sacrificed social experience (I never got to be a normal kid, I had practice) or professional goals (I had to turn down a promotion so that I could focus on my training) to make their Olympic dreams a reality are examples of Passion. And of course romantically,  every person that has ever “played hard to get” is seeking how much anguish their pursuer will endure on their account. Playing hard to get is a test of a person’s passion. 

Now staying with my intention to provide examples based on my Valentine’s favorite things is tricky here. Let’s just say that “The Passion of the Christ” is not my Valentine’s favorite movie. And revealing my Valentine’s most painful experiences would sort of go against the spirit of why I wish to feature my Valentine prominently in this series. But I’m going to do it anyway, because doing so actually best illustrates the point of Passion as Suffering. While the revelation may cause my Valentine some discomfort on some level, her care, concern and commitment to the cause overcomes any pain or embarrassment this revelation may cause her. She is wiling to suffer for the sake of the thing she cares about. 

My valentine and I have struggled with infertility   Issues. We are our blessed beyond words to have a son together. But for years before and for years after his miraculous birth we have struggled, and suffered with problems and complications that have prevented us from conceiving and carrying to term more children. The frustration and shame have been unbearable at times, to say nothing of the physical toll on my Valentine’s body and the financial sacrifices our attempts have required. And yet my valentine has persisted in her role I’ve and commitment to have the family we have envisioned. What’s more is my Valentine now champions the cause of infertility, determined in her own efforts to raise awareness, end stigma and promote proactive treatment for infertility issues. According to the American Pregnancy Association, as many as 1 in 6 couples has infertility issues. Many suffer alone and see their pain as something to hide or avoid, and move on from. But for my Valentine that pain has become something to embrace and transcend, although it continues to cause her suffering and disappointment daily. In doing so, my Valentine has discovered her Passion as Suffering. 

Well if you are still reading this far I am impressed. You deserve a holiday after reading through all that. Lucky for you tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. So spend it with the ones you love. And be sure to watch for the final installment of 3 Ways more Passion can change your life, part three Passion as Raw Emotion. 

Janelle Adams, MA, LMFT, ATR Janelle Adams, MA, LMFT, ATR, offers her extensive expertise to help people of all ages from all walks of life to lead happy, balanced lives. Through her work at In Touch Counseling Services in Vancouver, Washington, she delivers care and treatment designed to address mental health disorders, relationship challenges, physical health problems, and more. Janelle takes a holistic, integrative approach with each person she sees at In Touch Counseling Services. She knows that each individual’s experiences and difficulties are unique. She blends a variety of treatments — including ancient treatments like acupuncture and leading-edge approaches like Alpha-Stim® cranial electrotherapy stimulation — based on the individual’s specific needs and preferences. As a registered art therapist (ATR) and licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), Janelle can draw on her extensive experience to help each patient.

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