This is advice we have learned to live by. Spend your time doing what makes you happy, because that’s what is most important. I have always abided by this, and I’m sure we’ve all made at least a couple decisions with this mantra in mind. Whatever we choose to pursue in life, we should enjoy doing – we should do the things we love. Simple enough, right? Wrong. There’s more to it than that, and we have been slightly misled.
A couple of weeks ago I had a few training sessions that I hated every second of. I wished I could be anywhere else doing anything else. I felt sore and tired and frustrated and I just simply did not feel like training. It felt like a monotonous chore. As my coach instructed me, I felt agitated. I couldn’t wait to just take off my spikes and go home, curl up into bed and go on a Netflix marathon. Throughout my decade-long participation in this sport, I’ve definitely experienced practices of this nature before, but never this intensely and never this many in a row. In turn, my training was not productive and this only fuelled my bad attitude. On top of everything, I felt an incredible amount of guilt for not enjoying what I was doing. It was a strange internal conflict that sat uncomfortably and heavily on my heart and mind. “I do this because I love it,” I told myself, “So why do I absolutely hate it right now?”.
After that string of I-would-literally-rather-do-anything-other-than-this training sessions, I had a practice (ironically enough, in a torrential downpour) that completely shifted my attitude. The love that has fuelled me thus far was suddenly rushing through me once again. “I FRIGGEN LOVE THIS BEAUTIFUL SPORT! I WANT TO DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!”. My heart fluttered and danced with joy as I did the motions that just one day prior I loathed. Since then, I have pondered.
Is it okay to sometimes hate what we love?
My conclusion: Yes. Absolutely. When what you’re pursuing – a career, a hobby, academics, an ideal self, an athletic goal – takes up the majority of your time and energy, it only makes sense that sometimes you will get frustrated and have a severe distaste for it. Hard work is.. hard. The road to success is never smooth so it’s absolutely ridiculous to think you should have a smile on your face as you get stuck at detours, rocked by road bumps, and tired of the same, long drive. Passion is defined in the dictionary as, “a strong and barely controllable emotion”. It doesn’t specify that this emotion is necessarily a positive one – it’s just overwhelmingly present. Passion involves both love and hate. Never feel guilty or wrong for periodically experiencing the hate while pursuing what you love. Embrace the hate-days as part of the process.
So, let’s revise that opening quote: “Love what you do and do what you love, but it’s also okay to sometimes hate its guts, too.” Er, something like that.