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.
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).