What Do You Love? Creative Ways To Find The Answer

Medically reviewed by April Justice
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Some people find what they love and are passionate about with ease. Others might go on a journey of self-discovery to get to know themselves more profoundly. For some, passions and enjoyable activities become hidden under stress, a busy life, or painful memories. 

However, when you can consider and practice your passions, they may become more evident in your mind. For some, this process can look like taking a creative path to discovery through practice, trial and error, and passion. If you are struggling to identify what you love, there are a few innovative ways you can start searching.

Explore your passions and healthy activities with a professional

Ways to explore your passions

If you're unsure what you're passionate about, consider the following ways to discover what you love. 

Try art therapy

Art therapy is an approach that uses art and creation to help clients come to conclusions about their goals. Whether a session involves painting, drawing, pottery, or another activity, this framework uses creativity to explore emotions and desires.  

The concept of art therapy may be misunderstood. Some people might imagine a therapist carefully studying pictures and revealing secrets to the client based on the images they draw. While your stick figure drawings might be connected to a feeling, art therapy can be utilized by anyone for almost any purpose. Art therapy is a time for some to unwind and create art that makes them happy without an underlying cause. 

Art therapists might prompt you to answer questions about your art, even if you haven't had any formal training in a creative field. Through the images you create, you can convey ideas that might be difficult to express in words. An art therapist won't tell you what your art means. They can ask questions to prompt thoughts about what your subconscious may be trying to tell you. Your art may also answer questions about the activities you enjoy most. You might find that one of these activities is creating art. 

Journal about your dreams 

Dreams can allow your unconscious mind to speak to you. Sometimes, dreams might feel like noise, echoes, and bits of information filtering through after a long day. However, if you pay close attention, you may find recurring themes in your dreams. There may also be symbols, people, messages, or images that could have a more profound meaning.

Some people forget their dreams after an hour of being awake. While you might not remember every detail, consider writing or drawing in a dream journal when you wake up. Take time to note the people you saw, the places you were in, and your feelings. 

Try repeating this exercise every morning for a few weeks and look back at your entries to see if you can make any meaning of the information. You might be surprised to find hidden desires in the dream world. If you're still stumped, consider visiting a sleep and dream therapist who may be able to help you examine your entries in more detail. 

Make time for tomorrow, today

Some people have a bucket list of tasks or hobbies they'd like to try someday. For example, one person might hope to return to university. Another might have the goal of starting their own business. These thoughts can nag at the back of your mind if they touch your heart in some way. It can cause emotional pain if you feel it is "too late" to achieve these goals. 

If you often shut out your inner desires, you might feel that you don't have enough money, that it's not the right time, or that you must reach a particular life stage before going after a dream. While remaining logical about what matters to you can be beneficial, you don't have to follow an all-or-nothing approach. Instead of seeing the future as an unobtainable goal, you can take steps to live the life you want and pursue your passions in the present.

For example, if you dream of being a singer, you might enroll in singing lessons once a week or monthly. If you want to be a chef, consider buying a book and teaching yourself new culinary skills at home before applying for culinary school. There might not be a "perfect" time to complete any task. Life changes each day and can throw unexpected challenges your way. Working toward what you love may make those aspirations more attainable. 

Try new hobbies 

If you don't know what you love, try an activity you have never done before. You might not know you love something until you give it a chance. 

Start this process by listing activities or skills you've always wanted to experience but never got around to. When the list is complete, start at the top and try the first activity. You might find several activities on the list that you don't enjoy. However, you may also find a passion. You don't necessarily need more than one passion or enjoyable activity to change your life positively.  

Revisit old hobbies 

If trying new activities doesn't appeal to you, you might try spending time with your inner child. Think back to when you were a kid. What used to bring you joy? Was it spending time outside? Reading? Playing with your dog? The activities that used to make you happy as a kid may make you happy as an adult, too. 

Rely on your memory as much as you can. However, if you struggle, you can also contact your family or childhood friends for help. You can ask for old pictures or videos of you as a kid or listen to your family tell stories about how you used to play and what you enjoyed. Looking through old yearbook entries, diaries, or artwork can help you discover what matters to you. You may be able to use what you learn as a jumping-off point for more exploration.

Look at what you hate 

Your brain is wired to notice what you don't enjoy. In some cases, finding what you love may involve looking at what you hate. If you don't like spending time outdoors, it could point to a tendency to love being alone at home, curled up with a book. 

If you don't like working with people on the phone, you might love working on a computer. What you dislike may sometimes speak to you more because these activities or concepts are so far removed from what you love. List the activities you hate and write the opposite in a column to their right. You can then try the new enjoyable activities you've listed. 

Say "yes"

New opportunities may present themselves throughout your life. However, limiting beliefs may cause you to pass by these opportunities without giving them a second thought. The next time someone asks you to try an activity you've never done or go outside your comfort zone, consider saying "yes." 

While trying an uncomfortable or unsafe activity can be unhealthy, safe activities may be meaningful or offer insight into your passions.  Consider challenging yourself to see how many new experiences you can take on in a week, month, or year.

Explore your passions and healthy activities with a professional

Talk to a therapist 

An outside perspective may help you discover passions you weren't previously aware of. If you have spent time figuring out what you love or seeking help putting activities into practice, consider working with a licensed professional counselor. Even if you're busy or live in a rural area, online therapy through a platform like BetterHelp can offer you support. They can assist you in understanding what you love, why you love it, and what you can do to manifest this passion in your life fully. 

Online therapy is a creative way to seek guidance from someone qualified to offer expert advice. Instead of worrying about facing barriers that can come with traditional therapy, you can connect with a counselor from the comfort of your home through phone, video, or live chat sessions. From home, you might also feel more inspired to explore the activities available while looking for your passions. 

In addition, online therapy can be a helpful resource for those struggling with atypical mental health concerns. One study assessed the efficacy of a web-based intervention delivered to young people with neurodevelopmental conditions. These conditions included ADHD, tic disorder, dyscalculia, and specific learning disorder. Researchers found that online-based therapy successfully improved symptom outcomes and reduced comorbid psychological challenges. 

Takeaway

Finding what you love can be difficult. It's often a process of looking deep into your heart and mind or relying on trial and error. You may find comfort in knowing that finding what you love can take a while. While you might struggle to identify your passions now, that doesn't necessarily mean you will always struggle. You may find that your values and passion change over time or are entirely unexpected. 

The process of discovering what you love is your own. However, speaking with a professional may make the process feel less unobtainable if you're looking for support. Contact an online or in-person therapist to discuss your goals further and start receiving support.

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