What Do You Love? Creative Ways To Find The Answer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What things do you love in life?
There are many things people love in life, such as:
- Friends, family, and community
- The color of fall leaves on deciduous trees
- A beautiful song
- Mountain views
- Sharing a nostalgic meal with loved ones
- Listening to inspiring stories
- Making a difference in the lives of others
- Receiving gifts and affection from loved ones
Different types of love are appreciated for different reasons. For example, pets provide simple, affectionate, connected love. Nostalgic foods, on the other hand, may connect us with happy memories and celebrations.
What do people love most?
Self-love is sometimes considered the most important love to nurture, as it’s a prerequisite to loving others. People who love themselves are the most likely to experience high levels of happiness.
Aside from self-love, many people love their spouse or partner(s), parents, children, pets, and closest friends more than anything else.
What are examples of the 5 love languages?
The five love languages refer to a concept developed by Dr. Gary Chapman. According to his theory, people best give and receive love in the following ways:
- Words of affirmation: If your love language is words of affirmation, you may feel most loved when you’re complimented or acknowledged. For example, if a loved one sends you a text that says, “I’m so lucky to have you in my life,” you may feel especially appreciated.
- Quality time: If this is your love language, you may desire the time when distractions are put away and the quality of time spent together is prioritized. For example, you may feel most loved when the people you care about plan for an afternoon at the beach, or exit their internet browser for a phone-free picnic in the park.
- Acts of service: If this is your love language, you feel most touched when someone does something you’ll appreciate, such as cleaning out the car, grabbing groceries, or walking the dog.
- Physical touch: Many people receive love through physical touch. If this is your love language, you might feel closest to your partner when you’re holding hands, cuddling, dancing, or kissing.
- Receiving gifts: This may be your love language if you feel most seen and appreciated when the people you care about share their love for you with a gift. The gesture and sentimentality are often more important than the gift itself, which may range from getting you your favorite candy from the grocery store, to making a reservation at a restaurant you’ve wanted to try.
You may have one primary love language, or a blend of multiple love languages. Either way, it’s a good idea to communicate with loved ones about how you best receive their love and how they’d like you to give love.
What are the 8 types of love?
Dr. Susan Albers suggests that the following eight types of love are defined based on the differing levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment present (the triangular theory of love):
- Non-love: This is not love, as there is no intimacy, passion, or commitment present. It describes the indifference you feel towards someone you don’t know or barely know.
- Liking: Many friendships fall into this category. There is some intimacy present, but no passion or commitment.
- Infatuation: This type of love has high levels of passion without commitment or intimacy. Infatuation may describe a crush or the feeling of butterflies when you first get romantically involved with someone.
- Empty love: This type of love does not have passion or intimacy, but it does have a high level of commitment. This type of love may develop over the course of an unhealthy marriage where both parties are unwilling to get a divorce.
- Romantic love: This type of love has high levels of passion and intimacy, but not commitment. If you’re in a relationship, but you’re not quite sure if you want to commit to them, you may be experiencing romantic love.
- Companionate love: There is no passion in companionate love, but there is a high degree of intimacy and commitment. This type of love is often felt between best friends and in other long-term friendships.
- Fatuous love: This love has high passion and commitment, without intimacy. It’s often described as fast-paced and driven in-part by sexual desire. Fatuous love may describe a whirlwind romance, where partners get very serious before they’ve had a chance to know each other more intimately.
- Consummate love: This love is balanced between intimacy, passion, and commitment. Couples with consummate love are passionate about one another, emotionally connected, and committed to each other.
Why is love important in our life?
Dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, and beta-endorphin are involved in creating the sensations of lust, obsession, and long-term love. Love is biologically designed to help humans cooperate and procreate, but it also enables us to experience delight, trust, empathy, and community. On average, people who’ve maintained loving, healthy relationships benefit from:
- Reduced loneliness and isolation
- Lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression
- Greater sense of belonging, purpose, and meaning
- Higher self-rated happiness
- Reduced risk of physical health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and some types of cancer
- Lower blood pressure
- Better sleep quality
- Longer life expectancy
What are the three things of love?
The triangular theory of love was written by the psychologist, Dr. Robert Sterberg. According to his theory, different types of love can be defined by assessing the level of these three variables:
Relationships with high levels of multiple variables are more likely than those with one or fewer variables to survive over time. For this reason, consummate love (which combines high levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment) is often considered the gold-standard or ideal form of love.
How do you give love examples?
The most obvious way to express your love for someone is to tell them. However, there are multiple ways to show your love for someone. For example, you could:
- Tell them what you love about them, acknowledge and thank them for the things they do for you, compliment them, or write them a love note
- Give them a massage, a hug, a kiss, or put your hand on their shoulder
- Give them a thoughtful gift to demonstrate that they’ve been on your mind
- Take care of something you know they’ll appreciate, like changing the lightbulbs, or get to a busy restaurant early so they won’t have to stand in line for long
- Make time for one-on-one activities
How do I figure out what I like the most?
To figure out what you like, consider:
- How you tend to spend your time
- What you enjoyed doing as a child
- Activities where you lose your sense of time
- What your values are
- Things you don’t like
- What makes you feel the most fulfilled
- Things you happily learn about even if you’re not required to for school or work
- What makes you feel excited or energized
If you’re finding it difficult to figure out what you like the most, you might want to sign up for a class, volunteer, or get involved in new hobbies. By trying new things, you can begin to discover what brings you joy.
Why do you love a person?
Love is formed based on intimacy, compatibility, shared interests, passion, and commitment. Biologically speaking, love is driven by hormones that affect:
- Libido (sex drive): Estrogen and testosterone contribute to lust, which serves the evolutionary purpose of reproduction.
- Partner preferences: Who you’re attracted to is influenced by dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Attraction applies to romantic relationships, and it’s involved in the brain's reward system (this explains why early stages of a relationship can feel all-consuming or obsessive).
- Attachment: Attachment is mediated by vasopressin and oxytocin. Attachment creates long-term relationships, which applies to friendships, romantic relationships, and parent-infant bonding.
What is love in a simple sentence?
Love describes emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that are rooted in a combination of intimacy, passion, and/or commitment.
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