We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What does that mean?
While some might state that we are shaped by what we hate, I believe that not everyone is motivated primarily by hate. Hate is an ‘away’ emotion.
You don’t choose to have burgers because you hate tacos. It’s true, you may hate tacos, but you chose burgers because you like, or even love burgers.
What we push away from only moves us for a brief period of time. What we love is like gravity, constantly pulling us. In this constant pull, our path is changed.
We may make slight deviations from that path due to temporary fascinations, or from hate, but these disturbances generally lack the power to make much difference over the course of a lifetime, even if they leave a scar.
Why is following the path to what we love important?
This is dangerous ground, as many terrible things have been done under the disguise of doing what they loved, or in pursuit of their love. However, for those who are relatively well adjusted, this pursuit of what we love is a good thing. It motivates us, and helps guide our progress.
We usually use the word ‘want’ or ‘need’ when we pursue something, but quite often we love that thing, or what we love what we believe that attaining or possessing that thing will bring us. Those who love power will pursue it, often in a single-minded manner. That is where it can be a detriment.
As with much of life, some amount of temper, some moderation, is in order. In some cases, that means we have a day job and pursue what we love in our spare time. And as we pursue what we love, we are molded by it. How many of you know part time musicians who look and sound like musicians?
What we love, we will pursue. What we pursue we will, to some extent, acquire or attain. In that, we are shaped and fashioned by what it takes to get what we love. That’s why musicians are usually pretty easy to spot. The same goes for artists, starving or otherwise. They have been shaped and fashioned by their love, and their pursuit of it. Which is as it should be.
Where can I apply this in my life?
There are two approaches to this in life. Decide to pursue what you love and become what that pursuit makes of you, or determine what you wish to become, and pursue what will get you there, to what you love. That sounds kind of strange so let’s look at it from a more personal view.
I always knew what I wanted to do. I was one of those ‘born engineers’ and a natural geek. I knew what I loved, and I already was of that form, so the amount of reshaping necessary was minimal. It was mostly just reinforcement of what I already was, knew, and loved.
However, along the way, I decided I needed to be a little more rounded, so I determined where I wanted to be, and began pursuing the things which would help me be closer to what I loved. I enjoyed having a few friends, so I worked on my social skills. I loved programming, so I took a typing class, so as to better be able to move my the from my head to the computer.
Hopefully those paths make a little more sense now. One more example might be someone who loved power and money. They figured out the routes to what they loved, and took classes in the corporate or political fields, and used what it made them as a tool to get what they loved. Does that make sense?
What do you love? Not people, but ideas, activities, pursuits, and anything and everything else? Do you love freedom? How has that love shaped you in your life? Apply that question to whatever you love. Painting? Sculpture? Mechanical things? Making things? Knitting? Pottery? Sports? The list is as long as your passions are.
Now take a moment and consider the things you love, or loved, but have buried. What did you used to love, but don’t anymore? Why did you abandon them? There are plenty of good reasons for moving on in life, but I would like you to take a moment and make sure your reasons are still valid.
I prefer a planned life. I know random things will happen, but I prefer to at least select my direction and set my sails. What do you love, and how will you pursue it? How will it shape and fashion you, and how will that impact the other aspects of your life?
A lot of people don’t think this part through. How many people have you seen who are obviously into a particular style of music, and have allowed it to shape and fashion them, to the point where it impacts the rest of their life? And far too often it is in a detrimental manner.
That is their choice, and their life. But I hope they considered what it does to their future. Some things, like hair color or length, can be easily changed. Tattoos on the face and neck, those are a little bit harder to change.
Take some time, think it through, and pursue what you love. Anticipate what it will do to you, as it shapes and fashions you, and plan accordingly. Live the life you want, live the life you plan. Follow your dreams.