Those are the feelings I ran into when I first started following my heart.
I thought that if I could only find my passion, or tap into my inner wisdom, everything would be fine.
But life doesn’t work that way.
I discovered that in order to follow my heart, I had to let go of my baggage. And letting go meant facing my deepest fears and insecurities.
The heart-based path is not an easy one, but then again, worthwhile things are rarely easy.
Why Is It So Hard to Follow Your Heart?
There are several reasons why it’s so hard to follow your heart. Here are a few of the biggest stumbling blocks:
- Conditioning. When you start following your heart, you go against your “programming.” You’ve been told to get a job, and follow the rules. You’ve been told that you can’t trust yourself. You’ve been told that to get what you want in life, you have to push, force, and manipulate.
- Beliefs. The conditioning leads to beliefs. These beliefs are the thoughts that come up when you begin listening to your heart. They’re things like: “I’m not good enough,” “If I follow my joy, I’ll starve,” or “People will laugh at me if I do this.” These beliefs feel rock-solid, but they are full of air. These are not your thoughts, but thoughts you’ve picked up from other people as you’ve grown up. It’s not anyone’s fault, because this programming has been passed from generation to generation.
- Expectations. You also have expectations of what it’s supposed to look like to follow your heart. Do you think it will be a walk in the park? Most people do. They believe that there will be no challenges in their life if they follow their joy, and more often than not, the exact opposite is true, because in order to level up in life, you have to let go of what’s no longer needed.
- Fear. Last but not least, fear makes this hard. Not the feeling that you associate with fear, but the story you weave around it. You see, when we break down fear, it’s a feeling. That feeling may be uncomfortable, but it’s not a problem until you start telling yourself a story of why you feel that way, or why you’re not good enough. When you believe that story, you start trying to fix it, and then you’re caught in the illusion.
6 Practical Tips
I wish there was a magic formula I could give you, but there isn’t.
You have to uncover your own path, and you have to face your inner demons all by yourself. It may sound scary, but once you do it, you realize that it isn’t so bad.
That being said, I do have a few tips you can experiment with:
- Stop trying to figure it out. You don’t have to try and figure out where your life is going, or even what your passion is. You can start living a happier life right now by tapping into your heart and following your joy.
- Take tiny steps. You don’t have to quit your job or do anything radical. You can start following your heart in tiny, doable steps. Start by moving your awareness from your head to your heart. And listen.
- Do your best. Don’t worry about transforming your whole life and getting rid of all your problems. One of the reasons you’re not happier is because you think something has to change. The only thing that has to change is your attitude. You can start expanding the joy that is already in your life, even if you feel like it doesn’t exist.
- Feel your emotions. Whenever you feel fear, uncertainty, or even panic, it’s an opportunity to practice. Most people run away from their emotions, but it doesn’t work. When fear comes up, sit with it, and feel it fully. Start with small anxieties. The more you do this, the more it ripples out into the rest of your life.
- Breathe. We slump in our chairs, and we forget to breathe. So, remember to breathe. I like to meditate. It helps me connect to my heart and stay in the present moment. And above all, it helps me calm down when I get too caught up in the drama of life, and in my imaginary stories.
- Connect to reality. No one is free from suffering. Even the most successful people in the world have fears, worries and insecurities. They may have all the money, success and fame in the world, but there’s always something lacking. And they, like everyone else, chase that one thing hoping that it will make everything okay, but it never does.
What Not to Do
Don’t rush things. If you’re feeling like a storm of anxiety is gobbling you up, don’t try to get rid of it.
The more you resist your own feelings, the more you suffer. We can’t change what is, yet we wish that it would be different. This is what makes following your heart so hard.
What if, just for today, you stopped trying to force life to conform to your expectations?
Stop trying to figure everything out. Stop trying to control the outcome. Stop trying to achieve more and be more. Just relax, even if it’s just for five seconds.
This doesn’t mean you sit on the couch and binge the latest TV-series. It means you stop trying to meddle with things that you cannot control.
It means you center yourself in the present moment and listen to your heart.
You do what you can with what you have. That’s all you have to do. That’s all you can ever do.
The Bottom Line
What makes following your heart difficult is your resistance. It’s not inherently hard.
The struggle isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it helps you let go of the baggage you’ve been carrying all this time. It helps you grow.
The good news is that you don’t have to try and get rid of this baggage. You don’t have to get rid of your “problems.”
It’s about noticing what’s holding you back, and letting it go. Relax into it. Feel it fully. That allows it to release naturally.
So just for today, can you relax, and see what next tiny step your heart wants to take?
The Follow Your Heart Book
If you’d like to learn more about following your heart, I invite you to check out my book.
Each chapter comes with a lesson and three action steps that you can easily implement.
In a way, it’s a step-by-step guide to connecting and living through your heart.
You can learn more about the book when you click here (my affiliate link to Amazon).
Eddy Salomon says
Thanks for this post. It really resonated with me. Sounds like you’re a follower of Bob Proctor because the whole programming statement jumped out to me and made me think about when Bob talks about paradigms and how it controls us. I’m still working through that in my own life. But I have found that being aware of it really helps your conquer and control it.
I liked what you said about not trying to figure everything out. That’s a hard one for me. I’ve always pretty much what I’ve wanted to do and how I’ll do it. But sometimes I don’t and it drives me crazy. But I’m learning to take a step back and not force the situation and just wait. And once a path or opportunity is revealed I pounce then. Seems to get better results that way.
So thanks for the great advice and reminders!
I am having a really difficult time following my passion. With life and all its stresses, I think I have lost my passion and dont know how to find it back. Feeling down and without the ability to even write can really be frustrating. I think I need to clear my mind and remove all the things that are holding me back but its hard to know where or how to start. I remember I used to be able to write about anything but over the last couple of months I just cant seem to get anything out.
I am sure the inspiration I have received from your blog will help me get back on track and discover my true passion. I hope it is still there.
Nicole Witt says
You are so right about the fact that fear is only a feeling.
When I feel that feeling in the pit of my stomach, instead of automatically thinking “I’m scared” and freaking out I try to remember that the feeling of excitement feels an awful lot like the “fear feeling”.
Then I tell myself the story that I am excited about the new possibility, adventure, whatever it is instead of afraid.
It works wonders for me 🙂
Ashley P says
This is great advice for following your heart. I also feel a big part of following your heart is to not let others try and persuade you to not follow it, stand up for your heart.
Mallie Rydzik says
Tiny steps! This is so crucial. If I’d had to take all the steps that got me here at one time I…well, I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Thank you so much for this. It was exactly what I needed to read this morning to start my day with more positivity!
This was an incredibly supportive article! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience here.
I really enjoyed this article, it is reassuring to feel that I am not crazy (well not entirely) as there are others that are going through the same partially self inflicted torment. This piece was certainly a nice little boost and has definitely given me some things to think about. Thank you
Thanks for this insightful article!
I had a dear friend who once told me that fear is simply:
Knowing, believing, and understanding that simple truth has helped me deal with those times that fear has invaded my peace and serenity.
Oh and she also said that Serenity is the absence of fear. I believe that wholeheartedly.
I’m beginning my journey of following my heart, and I’m finding that the more I see that what I want to do with my life is not only possible, it’s probable that I’ll succeed.
I know where I want to be in three years, so I’m reverse-engineering my plan and goals so that I’ll have a better view of where I am, and the course corrections that I need to make along the way.
One of my most effective tools in my quest is what I call “now engagements.” These are activities that I use to focus on being in the present moment, so I can allow my heart to tell my mind what to do next.
A couple of my most favorite activities are putting jigsaw puzzles together, and doing complex paint-by-numbers pictures. It’s amazing how much insight I get by tuning out the cares and problems of the world for an hour or two, while accomplishing something at the same time.
I’m sure that I’ll encounter speed-bumps in my road ahead, but with perseverance, tenacity, and relaxation, I’ll reach my goals, and then I’ll develop a whole new set of goals to work on in the future.
Again, thanks for the great post!
I completely agree with taking tiny steps. Trying to tackle everything at once or make a big life change overnight is going to ultimately end up being more destructive than helpful. When you look at what you have to accomplish as a whole, it can be overwhelming, but by breaking it up and taking it on a little at a time you can definitely succeed.
Thanks for writing this post, I really needed to read it.
Thank you Henri
Well everytime when good things it’s about to happen in my life I basically go through a rough patch well I have learned that fear can be transformed to a conscious thinking leading to a solution of that particular problem …. I just try to be positive all the time and it has helped me to follow my path.