Why don’t you follow your heart?
There was a turning point in my life when I subconsciously understood that I would not be accepted nor loved if I expressed myself fully. I was 16 when I shut down. I started behaving in ways that were expected of me because I feared rejection if I didn’t.
Ten years later, I was a ball of stress and anxiety. I often pushed myself through uncomfortable situations, said yes when I wanted to say no and ignored the inner tug.
This inner tug can be an inner voice, a feeling, a gut instinct. It’s also known as following our heart or intuition. This tug usually wants to guide you towards a difficult choice. It’s often difficult to make because in the moment, it feels crazy or unjustified.
It took me many small but powerful incidents to understand the importance of following my inner tug.
But the true test occurred in my professional life.
In 2009, my inner tug told me to leave the teaching profession; unfortunately, the fear of the unknown influenced me to continue teaching for another year. It was one of my worst decisions. It was so bad that it basically left a physical imprint that now reminds me of what happens when I don’t follow my heart. I kid you not! So in 2013, when my inner tug said no – I decided to listen. I had nothing to lose. I had already experienced the negative consequences of my stubborn mind. What could be worse than a life of regrets?
Now I make it my mission to follow my heart.
It’s not easy.
We live in a society where the main model is pretty straight forward. Get a job, work hard, get your benefits and retire. Anytime you even think of stepping off this predetermined path, your friends, family, coworkers, and an inner critic (note, not the inner tug) will remind you that following your heart is a foolish idea. How do they know that if they never actually tried to follow theirs?
FYI – the top regret people share on their death bed is, “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”
How do you define a life that is true to you and not one that others expect of you?
And why is it important to follow our hearts anyway?
If you feel like you’re putting up an act when facing the world, work, friends etc. you’re not alone. But this may be the reason why you don’t feel like you can answer the question: who am I? confidently. When you start paying attention to your inner guide, you also create the space for you to really get to know yourself.
Listening to your inner guide helps you cultivate real intimacy with yourself. You will start having stronger opinions, appreciate yourself a lot more and gain more clarity.
But, like I said, following your heart is not easy. It’s a slow process, especially if you’ve been ignoring your inner guide for years.
Not sure where to start?
Here are 5 ways to start following your heart:
- Pay attention. How often do you justify yourself with the words should, have to and can’t? Take ownership for your decisions by replacing these words with could, want to and I choose not to
- Keep it simple. Start by listening to your heart for simple everyday choices. Cultivate this practice in those moments of indecision such as choosing what to wear in the morning or deciding what to eat for lunch.
- Face fear. Notice when it’s f.e.a.r. (false evidence appearing real) that guides your decision making. If you’re letting your imagination run the show; find ways to overcome that type of fear.
- Journal. Write down the moments when you listen to your inner guide. What was the outcome? You will start to notice that it always guides you to make the right decision.
- Be patient. You know the saying, “everything happens for a reason?” Well, the reason isn’t always immediately obvious. The “right decision” might take some time to manifest.
Still having trouble answering the question Who am I?
Email me with your concerns about following your heart firstname.lastname@example.org
Join me from May 10 – 13th, 2017 in The Bahamas on Paradise Island, Nassau for a 4-day yoga retreat and the workshop Define YOU Define YOUR Purpose.