This post is a part of the Follow Your Heart series.
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 live the life I wanted, I had to let go of the baggage I had. And letting go meant facing my deepest fears and insecurities.
The heart-based path is not an easy one, but you’re reading this for a reason. Something is nudging you to take the next step.
So let’s take that next step right now.
Why Is It So Hard to Follow Your Heart?
There are several reasons why it’s so hard to follow your heart, but 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 you to go to school, 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. You have to strive and struggle. The truth? You don’t.
- 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’ll 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, which means letting go of conditioning, beliefs, and fear.
- 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 on Making Things Easier
I wish there was a magic formula I could give you, but there isn’t.
You have to find 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.
That being said, I do have a few tips you can try it out:
- 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. That’s how you start.
- 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. Do your best and enjoy what you have.
- Feel your emotions. Whenever you feel fear, uncertainty, or even panic, it’s an opportunity to train. 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 will ripple 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, because happiness comes from the inside.
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 or today, you stopped trying so hard?
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 watching movies. It means you stop trying to meddle in 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.
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.”
Are you noticing how much lighter you feel after having read this article? That’s because you’ve relaxed a bit and you’re not trying to control everything.
And you see, you don’t have to have an iron grip on life. The world won’t end if you stop trying to figure everything out.
Or it might, but so what?
Let go, listen to your heart, and enjoy yourself, just for today.
If you can’t do it for a day, then what about 5 seconds?
The Follow Your Heart Book
If you’d like to learn more about following your heart, I recommend checking 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.