Can Passions become Detrimental?

A sign board showing the word "caution" towards a snow-covered field.

Yes, and this is what happened in my situation.

At some point during the first year of high school, I discovered poetry. I have read poems before, mostly in English Literature classes during secondary school, and I knew the names of a handful of renowned poets. However, I was never explicitly interested in the field and never even remotely showed any interest towards reading poems in my leisure time. 

That changed once I became a high schooler; the predominant subject that prevailed my mind was poetry. If I was not doing five hours' worth of intense Google research on some poet’s biography, I would be trying to experiment with different poetic formats on a Word document. It came to a point where anybody who interacted with me knew right away that I was fiercely passionate about poetry. 

At first, I was unable to understand why the classmates, who would usually talk to me, suddenly reduced interacting with me. One particular day comes to my mind when one of my classmates pointed out that I would only talk about poetry. It seemed to her I was not interested and willing to talk about anything else. I was taken aback, mainly because I had no idea how self-absorbed I was being.  

That was when I realized my passion had become an unhealthy obsession. At present, I’m still very passionate about poetry – but I’m no longer obsessed with it, and it is no longer detrimental to my social life. How did I bring the change? 

I brought change by understanding that my passions must have boundaries to satisfactorily fulfil my other commitments. In my case, I obviously had other passions (such as reading, volleyball and skateboarding) and commitments (such as talking to my friends about what they were interested in). I failed to keep my passion for poetry within its boundary, consequently leading it to pervade every aspect of my life. Therefore, I neatly and clearly compartmentalized my passions, commitments and duties, so that they don’t overlap and overshadow each other.  

Passions are inspirational. They provide us with countless reasons on why we should enjoy our lives. However, I believe it is also vital that we keep track of our passions and recognize the point beyond which passions can result in undesirable results.