How To Listen To Your Heart, Even If Your Mind Disagrees
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~Steve Jobs
We’ve all been there. Stuck in the middle of our decision making mode. Our heart tells us one thing, while our mind tries to keep us safe. Two totally different directions. One feels right, while the other is the most logical option.
What have you been following in the past? Do your decisions sound right or feel right? Take a look at where you are right now. Your life might be filled with logical and safe decisions. Which is great, but it’s leaving a lot of unused potential on the table.
You would love to be free flowing, in love with your decisions and place you’re at in your life. For some reason you’re not there yet. You’re close, but always feel on the fringe.
You’ve tasted the times in your life when you’ve been fully immersed in your decisions. Engaging with the discomfort of not having a plan, but at least it felt right. If only you could be here more often.
You Haven’t Given Yourself Time to Develop Heart-Centered Confidence
Living in tune with your heart can be a totally new concept. Today we’re so wrapped up in making decisions based on endless pro and con lists, that we never allow any space for new opportunities or potentials. The notion of living in a “cause and effect” mechanistic world pervades our every thought.
Even though we’re notoriously bad at predicting the future, we pretend as if we have the insight of Merlin’s crystal ball. Not bad, but we can only predict so far. I’m guessing most of your decisions come in the form of receiving an innate feeling you know you should see out, but that’s usually overridden because it doesn’t seem possible.
As humans we love falling back on routine. Our same thoughts and habits pervade our everyday existence. We can either let these thoughts and beliefs, based on our past, direct our lives or we can inject new life into them.
The decision is up to you.
The moment your eyes open in the morning you’re faced with decisions. This route or that route to work. Take the new job, or move across the country. Most decisions aren’t life changing, but still add up to our overall life experience. By adding more space and deeper feeling into your decision making process you bring more possibility into your life. It’s time to start learning how to navigate these new waters.
All you need to do is balance two aspects of your being, the heart and mind.
Logic and Analytic Thought Dominate Our Culture
Logic and analytic thought saturate our world, there’s no way around it. Since the start of the scientific revolution we’ve been on a binge of rationality. A well thought out piece of writing is truly a beautiful thing, but when rational thinking dominates the spectrum of your life, you’re leaving spontaneity and the potential for unseen growth on the table.
Rationality isn’t inherently bad, but since we’re imbalanced we end up playing life with half of the chips. We can see the dominance of rationality, fear and control throughout the world. From global issues such as global warming, to the governments of repression. Worldwide issues can give us a glimpse into where our inner worlds have gone wrong.
In this case, an imbalance of logic over the subtleties of an intuition based language. Instead of following our heart and operating with trust at the forefront we place a higher degree of value on conforming and what makes the most sense. The biggest issue here is our individual nature is lost in fear of rebellion from the whole. We’ve created a cultural footprint that’s almost impossible to step out of.
Rebellion is met with resistance, and a lot of times that resistance wins.
We can only forecast our lives based upon the information we have at the present. By strictly living in the realm of rationality we cut off contact to the deeper source of life and the random events that change us and the course of history. The freewheeling nature of a heart-centered decision reaches farther than the contents of our mind can follow.
It’s time to change course and start navigating the deeper waters.
Bring the Power Home and Awaken the Heart
In utilizing your heart you open an entirely new stream of possibility into your life. By making decisions with your heart wide-open you develop the trust muscle. In doing this a new source of self-love and trust emerges where there was only emptiness before.
Big changes and shifts in your life seem a little less scary as you begin to become familiar with the presence of uncertainty in your life. By living in tune with the part of yourself that always has your greatest interests in mind you’ll bring more of what you’re looking for into your life. This isn’t woo woo law of attraction imaginings, but instead, a way of viewing and feeling through the world instead of judging and analyzing yourself into a box.
When you first begin to make decisions from the deeper part of yourself you’ll feel massive resistance. The feeling of uncertainty is simply the mind trying to grapple with your decision. The amount of evidence currently in your palm doesn’t compute with the path you’re about to take. Your decision might go against the grain of your peers and family, but if the decision feels right then it’s what you have to do.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. The process of building your inner trust muscle takes time and can only blossom through action. Just as an iron sword is forged in the heat of a fire. Your life’s path can only unfold through coming into contact with the realities of life. In bringing your heart to life you awaken a fire within that has more force than all of the willpower you could ever muster.
How do I begin to unravel the hidden yearnings of my heart?
Start to Lay the New Decision Making Foundation
A house won’t last very long without a proper foundation, especially if you’re building a cabin to withstand the elements. A gust from a big bad wolf will knock it down in an instant. If you want your new decision making power to last longer than the first gale force wind thrown at you then it’s time to get to work.
The following steps will start to build a momentum of their own if you engage with them daily. For some that means building routines, while for others that means setting aside some time or space, or even setting a reminder on your phone to step back into your new decision making mechanism.
1. A proper foundation takes time
Trying to make any lasting change takes time. Especially, if it’s worthwhile. We all wish for habit changes to be as simple as turning on a light switch, but sadly this is never the case. If it was we wouldn’t value it as much.
Think about it, what holds more value, a handcrafted good, every stitch made with love, or a mass produced burlap sack? I’ll leave that judgement up to you.
If you were to start weight lifting or any kind of training, it would be impossible to start lifting heavy or training intensely right away. You need time for lasting growth.
Set aside some time every day and commit to it. You can’t build momentum by rolling a ball once. Every day push it a little farther. The first few times you’re priming your heart and it will feel awkward, so be ready for this.
Start the process by continuously asking yourself the following questions:
Where do I feel this decision?
Am I doing this because I feel it’s what I “should” do?
Is this in tune with the best version of myself?
How do I feel moving forward?
By consciously playing in the realm of the heart you’ll start to be able to see patterns and actually see if you’re living in tune with your highest self. By asking these questions you start to allow the mind and heart to play together nicely. You enable the mind to take a back seat through asking questions laced with deeper purpose and feeling.
2. Think of it as learning a new language
If you’ve ever tried to learn a foreign language you know firsthand how confusing the process can be. Or maybe you’ve even experienced being dropped into a country where you don’t speak the language. Definitely, a sink or swim moment!
Think of this process along the same vein. If you really want to become fluent you have to immerse yourself as frequently as possible. You must cultivate drive, persistence, and inner-trust, soon it will become easier to flow through life and your decision making process.
Instead of having a decision come in the form of a weighing of good and bad, it will show up with a feeling. You need the courage to let this deep feeling impulse direct you. Make sure to watch out for the emotional swings we all feel. You have to overcome these and realize these won’t lead you where you want to go.
You’ve gotta’ go deep, my friend. You can’t assume your hunger pains or fatigue are telling you to quit your job and grab a burger. The deeper current is where you want to swim.
When you have a deep feeling you’ll know it, it feels like love, lightness, intense fear, deep unknowing, or nervousness you’ve never felt before. For everyone it shows up differently, I can’t give you the details of your inner experience.
That’s where the trust muscle comes in. Feel it and run with it.
3. Start small and develop a toolkit of feeling
As you continue to ask yourself questions on a daily basis certain patterns might start to show up. Try to take notice of these. Maybe when you immerse yourself in writing, time dissolves and you’re left feeling refreshed after the experience. This wont happen every time, but if it happens more often than not, then it’s where you need to be.
Life is a grand experiment anyways, so you might as well conduct your life in the same manner. In doing a series of mini-experiments you’ll learn to distinguish your fleeting impulses from your heart-centered callings. In this case action is key.
You can either act based upon these or let them float by. The choice is always in your hand, when you let your mind override these feelings. Discounting them as silly, childish, or impossible, you’re really not valuing your own innate potential and value as a human being.
Before you start to rationalize why you shouldn’t take action, do yourself a favor and take a baby step. Try recognizing your deeper feeling current and act from it. See what happens. As you take action, confidence in your ability to trust the greater workings of the universe will begin to arise.
You can never trace your steps going forward, only after you’ve taken action will patterns begin to emerge.
4. Reflect on the direction and ask questions
We’ve all had the feeling of falling off, doing things not in alignment with who we truly are. This can happen even when we’re attempting to follow our hearts if we never check in and see how far we’ve come. Our mind is a tricky beast and has the ability to allow us to diverge from where we truly want to be. All while thinking we’re still on track.
You must make time to reflect, on the process, on your life, and on your new path of learning. By following the process of engaging with deep questions, seeing when deep feelings arise, taking aligned action and taking notes you’ll be well on your way to developing the ability to listen to your heart.
The strength of this way of feeling through life will allow you to override your mind. You’ll be able to lean on yourself and trust your decisions, even if your mind says they’re irrational. You’ve learned to trust and navigate the deeper current.
Reflect on your path as often as possible. Your decisions may look like a smattering of stars dotting the sky, but after a while you’ll be able to build constellations out of your own life.
What’s your biggest challenge in trying to listen to your heart? Share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below.
This article was written by Kevin Wood. Kevin Wood is a writer who helps you consciously rebel from the norms and create a meaningful life. Connect with him at Counter Culturist.
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