Sometimes the truth is so clear. Often times the truth is deep within our hearts and within our grasp but we push the truth aside. We don’t listen. We push away from what our hearts are telling us. But listening to your heart can be scary. Sometimes we don’t know what our heart is truly telling us or we overthink what’s happening or we look for the wrong clues. Yet it’s important to pay attention to your heart and really listen to what your heart is telling you. How you truly feel relates to your own specific passions, wants, emotions and thoughts. Everyone has their own path in life and the only way to discover your path is to learn how to listen to your heart. Nobody else can dictate the best decisions for you to make because nobody truly knows what your heart is telling you. Don’t be afraid to follow where your heart wants to take you. Below are some tips that will help guide you in the right direction to following your heart.
1. Let go of the idea that you can predict the future. You can’t. Often times we stop ourselves from following our hearts because we believe that we know if we will succeed or fail or have imagined scenarios of what will happen. What’s the point in pursuing a different career if I will fail anyway? Why approach that person because they wouldn’t like me anyway? I’ll probably fail if I try this. These predictions are usually based on thoughts, negative thinking specifically. As a result, we tend to do the things that feel safe and easy. It’s easier to stay in a job you dislike but is easy than to pursue a passion that requires risk, dedication and an uncertain outcome. However, the things that are most worthwhile are often the things that we can’t predict. What might be holding you back from listening to your heart is a resistance to a future with an unpredictable outcome.
2. Step out of your routines. A great way to listen to your heart is to put yourself in new situations and to keep learning. Do something different. Imagine your passion is to pursue an exciting business idea. Your heart is telling you this is what you want, but instead you continue doing the same thing. You keep working at the same job. After work you go home and do the same thing. You watch TV, browse the Internet, read a little bit and eventually sleep. Rinse and repeat for the next several days. During the weekend, your heart tells you more intensely that you should be pursuing your own business idea or passion. Instead you decide to do what you typically do. You might do chores, see a few friends and relax before work in a couple of days. This type of routine does not encourage you to listen to your heart. Stepping out of your routine doesn’t have to involve taking a huge risk. You could take a weekly class and learn something new. Or you could join a social group that fits your interest that meets up fortnightly. Do something different. Take small steps or big steps. Do what works for you but it’ll be easier to listen to your heart when you get in the habit of actively pursuing your innermost passions.
3. Get comfortable with being spontaneous. Spontaneous decisions can be fun and exciting. Being spontaneous can be the thing that strengthens your relationships, helps you meet new amazing people and discover something that changes your life. Some of us tend to view spontaneity as a negative thing and might prefer a planned structure to life. Plans are great, but try spontaneity for a bit. Do something different. Reconnect with an old friend if you suddenly get the urge to speak with someone you have lost touch with. Ask someone if they would like to get dinner tonight if you are wanting to try out a new restaurant in your area. Take a road trip this weekend if you suddenly get the urge to. See that movie even if you go by yourself. Get in the habit of being spontaneous and following your intuition. You’ll develop a habit of training yourself to be comfortable with spontaneity the more you do it.
4. Be patient because listening to your heart isn’t always easy. Everyone is different in this regard but I’ve found listening to my heart has become easier over time. The main reason it’s not as scary to listen to my heart is I’ve created an environment where I’m trying new things, meeting new people and being open to the possibilities. I’ve also ditched some routines that hold me back. For instance, I’m not a morning person at all, but I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up earlier and doing light physical activity. Changing my routine in this way puts me in a good mood in the morning and ready to do things rather than feeling exhausted at the end of the day. Listening to your heart is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. Some of us can listen to our hearts easily in certain matters such as career, love or passion but struggle in other areas. Following your heart takes time so prepare to give yourself however much time you need to get better at it.
5. Practice meditation or other ways to quiet your mind. Thinking too much and rationalizing all your actions can feel safe but thinking too much can block out what your heart really wants. Your heart and intuition reflects what you truly care about and what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s good to silence your thoughts so you can allow your heart to speak to you instead. Meditation is a great technique to relax and take time to really know yourself better. You don’t need to spend a ton of time meditating either. Take aside at least 10 minutes each day to meditate and go from there.
6. It’s okay if you have doubts or feel fear. Following your heart is not easy and as you follow your path you may have doubts or feel like you will never achieve your goals. Let me tell you that these feelings are completely normal. Everyone has dealt with doubts and fears. Even the people you admire who are following their passions have dealt with these doubts and fears at some stage. Everyone has days where they worry they are making mistakes, feel overwhelmed with life or confused at the right direction to take. Negative thinking is something that you will always need to deal with, but don’t let negative thoughts stop you from pursuing your passions.
7. Check in with yourself. Even a person who actively follows their heart may lose sight of how far they have come if they do not check in with themselves. If you don’t check in with yourself, you may feel like your decisions are spontaneous and lack direction. For instance, years ago when I made the decision to move to Australia, my decision may have looked a bit reckless to a few people in my life. However, I have known years before moving to Australia that my heart always wanted to travel, see and experience new places and I always had the passion to live in a different country. I didn’t have a specific plan or direction in place for how to live in another country but the passion was there. Fortunately, certain events happened that allowed that dream to come true. Reflect on your passions so that you will have a better idea of where your decisions and actions are leading you. What may look random to someone else, may be exactly the step you need to take in your own life. Checking in with yourself also helps prevent you from noticing the amazing ways that following your heart has significantly improved your life. Do what works for you. Keep a journal, make notes or mentally appreciate how far you have come each day.
8. Listening to your heart doesn’t mean ignoring your thoughts completely. Many people are afraid to listen to their hearts because they may worry that following their heart implies disregarding logic. That doesn’t have to be true at all. You can actually use both your rational mind and your heart to formulate wonderful decisions for your life. Let’s say your passion is to write a book. You can listen to your heart and start the process of writing a book. However, your rational mind might guide you on how to best follow your heart. For now, don’t quit your job, but do develop your writing skills. Take a writing class, carve out more time to write each day and prioritize your time differently. Your heart points you in the right direction but your rational mind may help you figure out the best way to follow your heart. Focus on finding that balance, but remember finding that balance takes time. And there will be situations where you need to jump right in and follow your intuition without thinking. Just like there will be points in your life where it may be better to play it safe and think things through.
Nobody can tell you what your heart truly wants. Overthinking and listening to others can cloud your mind and make it more difficult to follow your true passions. Be open to possibilities, be a little more spontaneous each day and dare to follow your heart. Remember that listening to your heart is not easy but keep taking the process one day at a time and reflecting on how far you have come. As you develop faith in yourself and continue exploring ways to follow your heart, you will become better at staying focused on what your heart wants.