We all know many people who have ignored their heart in life. Their heart was telling them to date a certain person, go after a certain job, or live a certain life, but instead of listening to their heart, they ignored it and did something easier or more expected of them. These people have regrets, and they will tell you about them often. It’s a lesson for all of us who want to listen to our hearts but are debating whether we really should or not.
However, there is also a group of people who have listened to their hearts and have found themselves in a place of struggle or anxiety. Their hearts have led them to do things that have gotten them in trouble. They wished they hadn’t followed their hearts in some cases, and it can scare the crap out of us when it comes to deciding whether to listen to our hearts.
What Does It Mean To Listen To Your Heart?
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” -� C.G. Jung
To listen to your heart means to listen to your intuition – your gut feeling about your life. Obviously, your heart can tell when you are nervous or excited by beating faster or skipping a beat, but beyond that, it doesn’t quite send you messages. Your intuition is often considered the sixth sense – a psychic knowledge or understanding.
According to the science behind intuition, it comes from our subconscious, a place of instinct where we automatically know what is right. That’s just another reason to listen to your heart. Sometimes it knows something you can’t clearly see in your conscious mind.
One cancer researcher said that almost every cancer survivor he studied had listened to their heart when it came to treatment. They let their intuition guide them in their choices, and they survived something that could have easily taken them down if they had followed what other people wanted them to do.
Two Big Benefits Of Listening To Your Heart
If you are not convinced that you should listen to your heart, then following are some undeniable benefits of doing so.
1. You Will Follow Your Truth Path
When you are fully in tune with your heart when it comes to decisions, you will make choices based on your true path in life, not on what you think you should be doing or what others want you to do. Sometimes this path may be completely off course from the normal way of life.
For instance, Shay Butler is a vlogger who followed his heart when it came to vlogging. He knew that there was something in it for him, but it was at a time when most people believed you couldn’t make really good money from making videos on the Internet. He had three kids, and people around his didn’t believe in his vision like he did. But he pursued vlogging in a big way. Less than a decade later, he is a millionaire because of it. Now he lives in a place he loves, has two more kids, and gets to really follow his heart because he has the freedom and money to take the short route to what he wants.
2. No Regrets
One of the biggest regrets of the dying is that they didn’t live life on their terms, or, in other words, they didn’t follow their heart. You do not want to reach the end of your life and feel like you wasted it. The pain of that will be a lot, and when you know that your years are numbered, you won’t be able to stay present because you will always be looking back at the time wasted.
In short, you will not actually get to live your life. Instead, you will just exist. You will be someone who was here and breathed, but you will not be someone who found meaning in life, lived out your passions, and experienced everything that life had to throw at you.
Do you really want to live a life full of regrets? I would guess, even without knowing you, that you don’t.
When Should You Use Caution When You Listen To Your Heart?
It would be nice if we could all just listen to heart and throw caution to the wind, but the fact is that our choices in life lead to results that can affect us positively or negatively, and we have to be aware enough to see when our choices have the potential of leading to negative outcomes.
Our heart may want something, but sometimes it’s better to use our head and think things through a little so we can really see what could go wrong with a paticular decision. Sometimes our heart may tell us to do something that will make us happy, so we ignore some obvious signs in front of us about how unhappy we really would be.
For instance, I’ve often talked about a woman who met a guy that really wasn’t right for her. He was unhealthy, bitter, and lived with his mother still. But she listened to her heart, and her heart told her that she wanted kids, and this was a guy who could give them to her. Not very romantic. And while she now has three kids, she is miserable because her husband is the opposite of romantic. He is cold, cheats on her, and puts her down at every chance he gets. She followed her heart and got screwed. Even though she has the kids she thought would make her happy, she is miserable most of the time and feels stuck.
Therefore, you have to use common sense. Your heart may tell you what you want, but in different situations, you have to be smart enough to ask if this is the way to get what your heart wants.
Yes, that woman’s heart was telling her that she wanted kids, but she didn’t have to pick the jerk to do it. She could have held that desire until a time that what she wanted lined up with a reasonable way to get it. Does that make sense?
Another example is starting a business. If you listen to your heart, and it tells you to become a blogger, for example, you can easily act without thinking. You can find someone who claims they have all the secrets, follow their advice on the type of blog you should start, and then blog in a niche you hate and have no passion around. You are blogging, but you are miserable doing it.
In other words, while you don’t want to be analytical over every situation, you do want to be grounded in reality somewhat so that you can listen to heart and do things that actually help you get what you want, rather than cause you to end up somewhere miserable and confused at why listening to your heart didn’t pay off.
Steps To Listen To Your Heart For A Better Life
There is no denying it, though. Listening to your heart will help you have a better and more rewarding life. You will do things that matter to you. You will do things that align with your purpose. You will feel more on track in life and celebrate yourself more. Life will just be more rewarding all the way around when you can listen to your heart and go after the things you really want. But, there is a process to it.
The next time you have a decision to make where you have different options, go through the following steps. This will help you make the most out of listening to your heart.
1. Ask Yourself Which Decision Is In Tune With Your Best Self
If you are faced with a decision, look at the options and decide which one is in tune with your best self. Which one makes you feel like you are going to ultimately end up not just having one positive thing come into your life, but have your whole life be affected positively.
For instance, the woman who wanted kids faced a decision of marrying a jerk or waiting for a better guy to come around. While she knew that having kids was in line with her best self, there was something that had to happen before she could have kids – something that was going to impact her long after her kids left too – a man. If she asked herself if marrying a jerk was in tune with her best self, then she probably would have decided to wait for someone better. Obviously marrying a jerk was not going to make her a better person or make her happy, so it was not in tune with her best self.
2. Ask Yourself If You Are Doing Something You Think You Should Do
When we make decisions for ourselves, we sometimes make decisions based on what other people think we should do. We still relate this to our heart, but it isn’t. It the pressure we feel to please others and have them see us in a certain light.
For instance, the woman who wanted kids felt pressured to have kids. She was over 30, raised in a strict Catholic home, and her mother was starting to worry that she was never going to have kids. This pressure contributed to her decision, and obviously, it resulted in her living a life that was not in line with her true self.
Of course, you may think you should do something for reasons other than what other people think. For instance, you may think you should do something that contributes positively to others, even though you would rather do something else. The pull to do things that society tells us we have to do can often cause us to make a decision that we think is based on our heart, but is really just based on what other people want.
3. Don’t Let The Unknown Get In The Way
As I said, you don’t know what listening to your heart will actually get you. You may have a preferred idea of what should happen, but life doesn’t work that way. People interfere, things change, unexpected events come up, and what you expect to happen could fall through.
If you know that the decision you want to make is in line with who you are and is something that you know you want to do – not something someone else wants you to do, then you have to be brave and do it. Don’t let fear stop you, because it will try! In fact, it is the number one thing that holds people from going after their deepest desires in life. It will make you question your motives, rethink what you want, and sometimes help you come up with excuses why you shouldn’t follow your heart at all.
4. Make A Plan
This is a funny step for following your heart, but I’ve found it necessary. It helps give you direction and helps you stay confident in what you are doing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t entirely know what the outcome will be, you can still have a plan in place to protect you if things go wrong.
For instance, if you are traveling, and your heart tells you to go to a certain place that other people would never stay in, such as a small cabin in the woods, then you could be in line to a peaceful and relaxing vacation. However, if you’ve never been to that cabin, then it could be a really crappy place to be. Moreover, there could be hunters around the cabin hunting when you are there, and there could be young teenagers out camping in the woods partying close to your cabin. Just because you have your heart set on it being clean, peaceful and relaxing doesn’t mean that it’s going to be.
Having a plan in place will help you figure out what to do if things don’t work out the way you thought they would. For instance, knowing the closest small town can still help you get the relaxing vacation you want if things don’t work out and you know of a quiet motel or bed and breakfast in the area.
Following your heart doesn’t mean you have to keep going when everything gets ugly. Just because you followed your heart and booked a cabin in a place everyone thought you shouldn’t book it, doesn’t mean you have to stick it out because your heart told you that it was meant for you.
It’s important to remember that sometimes making a decision based on what your heart says can fall through, and when that happens it can lead you to other decisions that will benefit you in a big way. So, have alternative plans in case something goes wrong and be open to them.