The following thought could be the difference between achieving your dreams or failing over and over.
That is, understanding the relationship between passion and escapism.
You see, the relationship between these two can be quite tricky and misleading, as similar emotions are associated with both. The stimulation of pleasure centres.
Sometimes we engage in activities or hobbies that we think we’re passionate about, when in reality, we’re using them to escape from deeper issues or emotions.
Table of Contents
- Is my Passion a Form of Escapism?
- What is the Duality of Escapism?
- What is True or “Harmonious” Passion?
- Is my Passion really Escapism?
- Why Escapism Can Be Detrimental
- How to Escape from Escapism
Is my Passion a Form of Escapism?
I encourage you to question this idea in all areas of your life. You may find that certain activities or passions are moving you away from your dreams and goals. If so, identify these and accept the reality of the situation, then decide how to change it.
Reading this, you may even realise that you don’t have big dreams or goals yet. That is fine, people’s goals change all the time and we here at Compassion Coach are happy to help you discover yours.
What is the Duality of Escapism?
Let’s talk about escapism for a moment.
Typically, we think of it as a one-dimensional concept that’s easy to recognize. It involves engaging in excessive gambling, drinking, drug abuse, sex, social media scrolling, binge-watching, eating or other activities to avoid confronting problems in our lives.
These activities provide a temporary relief or pleasure that’s easy for a neutral observer to deem as escapism or problematic.
But here’s the thing – escapism isn’t always so straightforward. It can actually manifest in the form of perceived passion. We may believe that engaging in certain activities is moving us forward in life, towards long-term satisfaction and fulfilment, when in reality, we’re just using them as distractions to avoid self-reflection.
What is True or “Harmonious” Passion?
Passion, on the other hand, is often associated with a strong sense of purpose, engagement, and genuine interest in something. It motivates us to excel, create, and make meaningful contributions. This is harmonious passion.
When we engage in escapism, we often rationalize our behaviour as a way to cope with our problems. We tell ourselves stories or narratives that everything is fine when it’s not.
For example, someone who spends excessive time playing video games might convince themselves that they have an unwavering passion for gaming, but in truth, they may be using it to escape from real-life issues, emotional distress, or from taking the time to decide on something to move towards.
Some may argue that gaming is a clearer form of escapism but actually it can be deceptive at times, especially amongst children.
Another activity linked to escapism is going to the gym excessively.
People might think they love intense physical exertion and go there seven times a week, but in reality, they might be using it as a way to exhaust themselves and therefore avoid thinking, worrying or moving towards their bigger goals.
So, Is my Passion really Escapism?
Now, let’s be clear – this deceptive relationship between passion and escapism doesn’t apply in every case. It’s important to question and reflect on any activity or craving you have, whether it’s a hobby, a pursuit or even seeking friendships.
You might discover that you genuinely enjoy these things and seek to apply yourself to them long-term.
The more I’ve applied principles of the mind and psychology in my own life, I’ve been able to recognise in my life things I perceived as passion when in reality it was a way for me to feel temporary relief, to escape reality.
I convinced myself I love going to cafes, beach walks and playing the piano. But in reality, I engaged in these excessively because I thought it fulfilled me.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love these activities very much but now when I go to a café, the beach or play the piano, I come from a state of mindfulness as I can see how it connects and supports my higher goals, I use it to fuel me towards those goals, rather than being there on autopilot just because I like it.
For you, perceived passion will likely manifest differently to me.
Be conscious whenever you engage in an activity because the answers will come to you. Just ask yourself, “does this activity move me closer to my goals?”
You may find it’s not always the case! Upon closer examination, you may find it is harmonious passion. And we would love it if that was the case.
Why Escapism Can Be Detrimental
Choosing escapism over genuine passion can lead to a long-term feeling of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. While escapism may provide temporary relief, it fails to offer the deep sense of purpose, fulfillment, and personal growth that true passion, aligned to higher goals brings.
This creates a deception, where individuals mistakenly believe they are content, all while neglecting their true passions and the deeper issues that come with it.
So, it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls of mistaking escapism for passion and to strive for genuine engagement and personal growth in our pursuits.
How to Escape from Escapism
To decipher between the escapism or a harmonious passion, ask yourself, “does this give me a long-term sense of fulfilment … or only short-term?” “Is it moving me towards my long-term goals?” “Do I have clear long-term goals?”
If it gives you a long-term sense of fulfilment, something you can still see yourself wanting to do in old age, it’s likely it’s a true passion.
Generally, if you find it’s something you can talk to others about for hours without getting bored, it’s probably a true passion. Me, for example, I can talk about mental developments, inner conflicts and anything about the mind to anyone … I love learning about it, and I know it’s driving me towards a long-term purpose, therefore I know it’s a harmonious passion.
You’re the only person who’ll know for your own circumstance if it’s truly a passion or form of escapism. Trust yourself and the answers will come.