So last week, I learnt something rather interesting about the etymology of the word 'passion'.
The word 'passion' actually originates from the Latin word meaning suffering or to suffer.
In a way this wasn't surprising, given the fact that I'm Christian so have often heard of the 'Passion of the Christ' and whatnot. However, it also prompted me to think about how we use the word now, and why we use a word that derived from suffering to describe strong and fervent feelings for someone or something.
Then it got me thinking more: Is to love/hate someone/something passionately, to suffer? Does it take something out of us that does inherently hurt in a way?
But in particular, the thing I have been thinking about in regards to passionately suffering is the suffering that comes alongside passionately caring about someone who just doesn't care about you as much. Not necessarily unrequited love, though that's definitely a big part of what I'm talking about, but even in platonic relationships where one party just seems to be so much more invested. For those who are the invested one, it is a form of suffering- because you would give everything for these people, you would do anything for them, if they asked it would be a task for you to say 'no' to them, and more often than not- they'll never appreciate you fully for that. They will never fully grasp the reasons why you care. As you can probably guess, I have been in this position many a time. Recently, though I'm still in that situation with certain people in my life- I'm seeing other friends in that position and from an outsider's view I realise just how intense that suffering can be.
I don't think it's fair to blame the person who is less invested, because sometimes they are unaware, or it's just their personality or it just can't be helped. However, it doesn't change the fact that when we love someone deeply, we become vulnerable to letting them hurt us in a way that others just can't.
I think that's because 'passion' is so much more than just caring. It's just so much more intense and extreme. In fact, all of the different nouns that come under the dictionary definition of 'passion' have the word strong in it. We allow it to consume us, to overwhelm our hearts and minds in a way that casual feelings of fondness just don't.
Even when passion is mutually shared, I still think that it has the capacity to overwhelm us in this way. Think of, for one example, how certain people who get into relationships come to forget or neglect the support networks and friends and family who are there for them the rest of the time. Also, it's like what I said before- love requires sacrifice. Relationships require compromise, and occasionally compromise can lead to us feeling like we're suffering. I'm not discouraging compromises and sacrifices in relationships at all, I think we all know that I advocate that- but it doesn't change the fact that sometimes change is hard, and it can hurt.
That's okay though.
I think that suffering shows us that we're alive; just as passion does. We are commissioned to live passionately, and I truly, fully, deeply believe that we should. Investing yourself into other people you love, but also the things and hobbies you love, is to give your all. Giving your all to everything can just make life so much more exciting.I'm challenging myself here as well as you guys, because I am definitely a victim of the burden of apathy and half-arsing my way through life. That's not that rewarding, to be honest.
Allow yourself to love passionately; allow yourself to stumble and fall; allow yourself to laugh and to cry; and allow yourself to suffer and hurt occasionally.
These are the things that make us alive.