Few people experience the art of doing what they love. Perhaps they lack the time, money, acceptance, or maybe they are not sure what they love to do. But believe me – finding and doing what we love should be the first item on our to-do lists. During my childhood, I was very attached to art. I loved dancing, cultural performances, and painting. The delicacy of art and its details was latent in my personality. Still, throughout my growth, this joy was stolen from me.
Raised in a macho community, I was forbidden to continue what I loved to do: art! At the age of 5, I heard my family comment on the shame I had put them through during a year-end performance at school when I danced with all my heart and dedication to impress those I love. When I was 15, it was this shame that prevented me from accepting a full scholarship for ballet and jazz at a dance academy. This was one of many prohibitions and penalties to my way of being.
Because of this oppressive environment, I developed insecurities, shame, fear of public speaking, poor attention to detail, and a sedentary lifestyle. There is too much more to unpack about macho culture’s harmful influence, but for me, it primarily robbed me of my freedom to do what I love. After completing high school, I focused on my university studies, obtained my bachelor’s degree in International Relations and my MBA, and started my professional life in the field of International Education.
I am very grateful for the things I learned, the opportunities I’ve had, and the path my life took. It all contributed to me coming to the U.S., ultimately serving as a Student Ambassador at Laureate – the network of universities where I obtained my degrees. Through Atlas Corps, I am part of an international community of young social-change leaders who are developing professionally and seeking different ways to create a positive impact in the world.
Today, at the age of 23, I live in another country and am exposed to different cultures, ways of thinking, and points of view, that stretch my comfort zone. Finally, I decided to pick up dancing again. I enrolled in a dance academy in Washington, DC, and I take weekly classes in Jazz, Ballet, and Afro-Brazilian dance, among other modalities. Just this statement alone suffices to prove my point in this post: it is so important to do what we love. Not only will it make us thrilled with our hobbies, but also doing what we love has spillover effects into all areas of life. When I started to dance again, my work performance got better too. I improved my commitment to time and attention to detail and overcame my fear of public speaking — I made presentations to more than 500 employees in a Town Hall and over 1,000 online. In addition, my diet, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships have improved.
Whatever you love to do, don’t wait around for everyone’s approval. Accept that waiting for other’s permission has already held you back too much, and decide to take action today. Go experience the art of doing what you love!