Ever since the beginning of humanity, there’s been one question nobody can give a correct answer to: “Should you follow your heart or mind in love and in life in general?”
However, lately, in modern society, listening to your emotions and being led by your heart has been seen as a form of weakness and a sign that you can’t control yourself.
Is that really the truth? Is going after what your heart wants one of the stupidest things you could ever do?
Well, many would disagree. In fact, throughout history, many psychological experts claimed that acting according to your emotions is the only right way to live your life.
Over the years, numerous artists have tackled this topic.
For example, there is a Follow Your Heart book by Andrew Matthews, a Follow Your Heart poem by Paul Mark Sutherland, a Follow Your Heart song from Scorpions…
“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”
I’m sure you’ve all heard about this iconic Follow Your Heart movie quote from The Sandlot (which was even turned into a Follow Your Heart meme) and whether you liked it or not, somehow, it’s stuck inside of you – especially the last sentence.
Nevertheless, not one of these works of art gave you the answer to the everlasting question of how to follow your heart.
And especially how to do it when your mind begs to differ.
Well, that’s why we’re here – to give you the easiest and the most effective step-by-step guide on listening to your heart and letting it take the lead.
1. Start with loving yourself
Whenever you’re in some kind of trouble or going through a hard time, everyone will tell you that the first step is to start respecting, appreciating, and loving yourself.
After years of listening to this, you start to see this advice as an empty phrase and something that’s much easier said than done.
Well, let me tell you one thing: if you want to learn to follow your heart, firstly, you really have to learn to love yourself.
You need to learn the importance of putting your mental health, desires, wishes, and needs first.
You have to learn how to prioritize and spoil yourself before anything or anyone else.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that you should become an egocentric, selfish maniac who doesn’t give a damn about anyone else’s well-being.
However, only the person who cares for themselves enough has the capacity to do what they truly want and need, and the ability to listen to their heart.
You’ll never be able to go after your heart’s desires unless you understand the importance of pleasing yourself.
You’ll never have the ability to follow your emotions (which are God’s greatest gifts to the human race) unless you learn how to put them in front of everyone else’s demands and expectations.
Consequently, you’ll never be truly happy unless you start going a little easier on yourself.
Unless you give yourself a break and get rid of some unnecessary social standards and norms.
It doesn’t matter if your heart wants to be next to someone, if it wants you to change your place of living or job that’s making you miserable – if you want to please yourself, you’ll listen to what it’s been telling you.
And the only way to do that is to understand the importance of self-love.
2. Boost your heart-centered confidence
There are a million pieces of advice you can find about boosting your self-esteem.
Millions of ways to start feeling more certain in your own abilities, become a better speaker, be a more confident lover, be secure in yourself in social situations.
However, when it comes to listening to your heart, you don’t need this typical self-confidence.
You don’t need to have a huge ego, have people looking up to you, or become a social butterfly.
Instead, what you need is to develop a heart-centered confidence.In other words,you need to learn how to trust your gut and intuition.
That you have to start having faith in God and your own emotions, listening to your emotions, and trusting that they’ll lead you into making the right choice.
No, this doesn’t mean becoming their slave. Nor doing literally everything your heart wants, without ever giving it a second thought or thinking it through.
In fact, when you’re heart-centered, you’re paying attention to your feelings, without allowing them to take complete control over you.
You train yourself to know when to listen to your heart and when to ignore what it’s telling you.
To put things simply, when you’re heart-centered, you learn to differentiate between temporary desires and true longings.
To distinguish between something that’s just a short-term whim and your heart’s true wish.
Once you accomplish that, you’ll also realize that your heart will never make you take anything besides the true path and that it will always show you the right direction.
You’ll understand that it’s a part of you and that tiny voice you keep hearing in the back of your head is actually your subconscious trying to send you a message, which you should definitely listen to.
3. Get rid of fears
“This is the time for yourself to be free. You gotta follow your heart.” (Follow Your Heart, Scorpions)
When you’re trying to follow your heart, the next stage is the one in which you let go of and free yourself of your deeply rooted fears.
TWhere you forget about the prejudices that emotions equals weakness, and everything people have been telling you your entire life about how following your heart can only get you in trouble.
This is the part where you get rid of your deeply rooted trust issues as well.
And I’m not talking about trust issues you have regarding other people here only, but about those you have when it comes to yourself.
After all, it’s clear that you don’t believe your own judgment and decision-making skills as soon as you reached the point in which you have trouble following your heart.
It’s obvious that you don’t have faith in your own choices as soon as you run away from the things your emotions are telling you to do.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve made some bad calls in the past and that is in no way a reason for you to try and shut off your feelings completely.
You’re now older and wiser, which means that you’ll not likely repeat your mistakes.
So, why do you still allow these fears to block you? Is one heartbreak really worth these thick walls you’ve built around your heart and soul?
Is it worth you pretending to be heartless? You trying to live a life without emotions?
Are these fears worth you always expecting the worst case scenario? All of this overthinking and pessimism?
I know you probably don’t trust me now, but please believe me when I tell you that nothing bad will happen if you decide to follow your heart.
No, I’m not guaranteeing you that it will always bring you to success either, but it doesn’t mean you should be afraid to at least give it a shot.
4. Figure out what you really want
Once you’ve finally realized that following your heart is something you truly want, it is about time you start listening to it.
I mean really listening to everything it has to say, everything it silently whispers to you.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t equated to doing whatever the hell you want, without even thinking about the consequences of your actions.
It doesn’t include, for example, spending your entire monthly salary on those awesome shoes you saw, just because your heart wanted them so badly in the given moment.
It doesn’t mean hooking up with some hot guy you just met at a party just because he gave you butterflies in the stomach.
Figuring out what your heart wants is a process that takes time, energy, and a lot of spiritual practices, introspection, mindfulness, and answers to some tough questions.
A process that doesn’t happen overnight and involves you getting to know yourself to the core.
First and foremost, it is important to provide a peaceful surrounding for yourself and your thoughts.
A place and time when and where you’ll have no distractions – no TV, no phone, and no other people talking.
You can start by some routines, such as making yourself a bubble bath or spending a lot of time alone in nature every week.
Listening to some relaxing music that allows you to think or engaging in some other form of art is also a good idea.
Once you do that, it’s time to picture your perfect life. Time to ask yourself some tough questions.
What is your life purpose? What do you want to be when you grow up?
How do you see yourself in the future? What is the best thing you could do for yourself and for your personal growth?
Where do you live in your perfect life? Where do you work?
Who are you surrounded by? Who are your friends and who is your life partner?
Once you answer all of these tough questions, it’s time to ask yourself if you have the same true desires throughout all of your sessions.
Or do these answers change every time you spend these long hours alone with yourself?
If you have no doubt about the people and things that would make you happy, then this is it: this is exactly what your heart wants.
On the other hand, if you’re not certain about your heart’s desires, don’t rush yourself and give your soul some more time to make up its mind.
Either way, the bottom line is to be aware of these thoughts and listen to them carefully because these are the things that would make you happy, the things you should start acting upon.
Just remember that everything is possible if you have enough faith.
5. Start writing
Usually, the most difficult part of this process is trying to get to the bottom of your heart’s desires.
Even though this sounds like the easiest thing in the world, many people actually don’t have a clue about what they want, so there’s absolutely no theoretical possibility to go after it.
If this is something you can relate to and you have trouble with spiritual practices and introspection, the best advice for you would be to start writing a sort of a journal.
However, instead of writing all the events that happened to you on a certain date, what you should start doing is taking notes about all of your heart’s desires, needs and ambitions on the given day.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a special talent for writing: you can even write short thesis regarding everything you wished for during a certain period of time.
This way, after a while, you can reread your diary and see which things are mentioned the most.
This isn’t anything strange: after all, paper handles everything.
You’re just a human being and we all have trouble verbalizing our own wishes and heart’s demands, so this can be the best way to express yourself, especially if you usually have a habit of suppressing your emotions.
Of course, if writing is not your thing, you can try with a different form of art. For example, start drawing or modeling your perfect life.
6. Don’t listen to others
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, and whether or not we’re aware, all of us are human beings and we are to a certain extent worried about what others might think and say, even when our decision-making skills don’t concern them.
We’re worried about following different social standards, not disappointing our loved ones, and doing what is acceptable in society.
As a result, all of these things often prevents us from going after our true desires. A lot of times, they block us from going after what we really want and end up making us feel miserable in the long run.
That’s why one of the most important steps in the process of following your heart is to not give a damn about what others might think when it comes to your life.
No, I’m not telling you to hurt everyone around you on the right path toward your goals – just not to do anything that will please others but be harmful for you.
Your loved ones won’t advise you against your well-being. At least, they won’t do it on purpose.
However, it doesn’t have to mean that they always know what’s best for you. In fact, listening to others will actually bring you more trouble than happiness.
After all, you’re the creator of your own happiness and the only ruler of your own life.
You’re the one who has to live with your own right and wrong choices, and the only one getting all the credit for them.
So, why would you allow someone else to tell you the right direction in which your life should go? Why would you allow someone else to stand between you and your heart’s true desires?
I know cutting off the ones who have been a part of your life for a long time is everything but easy.
However, you simply have to let go of everyone trying to interfere in your life choices, tell you what to do,and prevent you from listening to your heart.
7. Follow your gut
For as long as you can remember, you’ve been taught that the way to preserve your mental health is to be as rational as possible.
You’ve been told that being wise means basing your decision-making process on arguments and on putting everything on a scale.
However, things don’t always work out that way.
The truth is that sometimes, you have to do what you feel like doing, without thinking all the positive and negative aspects through.
Sometimes, you have to go with the flow, ignore your ratio, and listen to some other things.
One of the most famous Follow Your Heart quotes is:
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”– Steve Jobs.
You know how sometimes, you feel as if you have the ability to read through people?
How there are situations in which you simply don’t like a person, despite them not doing anything bad?
Those times where you just know that doing something would be wrong?
And those times where you feel like making a certain move is the right thing to do, without any particular realistic reason to feel that way?
Well, my dear, this is what we call intuition.
You can interpret it as a higher force, God sending you a signal, or whatever you like, but the truth is that it never appears without a valid reason.
That’s why the next thing you simply have to start doing is pay more attention to your inner voice and everything it’s trying to tell you.
Sometimes, that voice doesn’t come directly from your heart, it comes from your stomach.
That is your gut – your intuition that’s trying to make you take the right path and protect you from making a bad decision.
Listening to it doesn’t make you any less reasonable and it certainly doesn’t make you crazy.
Instead, it is only a sign of you being in complete touch with yourself and your emotions.
It’s a sign that you’re listening to the signals your body and mind are trying to send you, and knowing that these always have a purpose and deeper meaning.
Trust me, this intuition we’re talking about is one of the greatest gifts life could ever send you.
So, instead of ignoring it, be grateful for having it and use it to your advantage in the best way you can.
8. Start with small goals
Once you’ve accomplished all of this, it’s time for some real action. It’s time to really start following your own heart and see where it takes you.
Of course, nobody expects you to begin this spiritual journey by making drastic changes all of a sudden.
Nobody can advise you to completely disregard your mind and give your heart the lead overnight.
Instead, the first step is to slowly start exiting your comfort zone.
Slowly start doing the things you want and wish for and see how great a feeling that is.
So, for starters, begin with seemingly small things and easily achievable goals: pamper yourself in a way you expect someone else to do.
If you feel like taking a nap, spending a lot of time binge-watching your favorite TV show, or cancelling plans, that is exactly what you should do.
If you’re still not ready for that big move that will turn your life upside down, change your daily routine or make a bucket list of all the things you want to do or all the places you want to visit in the following year.
This way, you’ll feel more in charge of your own life and see that you’re capable of making some changes.
At first glance, all of this might seem like irrelevant for the bigger picture, but trust me, it’s everything but that.
Once you see how good and liberating it feels to please yourself and your heart, you’ll want to follow the same pattern and continue doing so when it comes to the bigger things as well.
Simultaneously, your heart-centered self-confidence will grow and step by step, and you’ll start giving yourself more credit.
You’ll start believing in yourself, your own heart, and your own inner voice more and more, and you’ll see that there is nothing wrong with your decision-making abilities.
9. Be focused
Another crucial step in this manual is to stay completely focused at all times.
To know your goals and life purpose, to believe that achieving them is possible and remain optimistic.
It’s to not allow the negativity to take over you, but to have faith in yourself.
It’s to never forget about your ambitions nor allow someone or something to take your concentration away.
The bottom line is that it’s important to get rid of all doubts, before anything else, because if you don’t believe you’re doing the right thing, than all of this is in vain.
Please, get rid of all those tiny voices telling you that you will fail and trying to drag you back in your comfort zone.
Of all those toxic people calling you a hopeless romantic and asking you to get back on the ground.
Of all those who call you a fool for letting your emotions guide you, and those who think you’re crazy for making “bad decisions.“
Get rid of social conventions and standards. Do away with expectations, pessimism, and everything that’s making you lose your faith.
Just focus on being committed to your own true path.
Focus on trying to get to the bottom of your emotions: What are the things that cause you stress and other negative emotions?
What are the things that make you feel happy and calm?
Create an environment in which your heart will be heard.
If necessary, meditate or do anything that might help you achieve your inner peace (and forget about real life surrounding you) before you start with the listening process.
10. Don’t give up
“When darkness surrounds you, and you lose your way, you have your own compass, that turns night to day.” (Follow Your Heart,– Urinetown)
If you pay close attention to these Follow Your Heart lyrics Urinetown has given us, you’ll see that this song is actually telling you never to give up, even when you’re surrounded by darkness.
Even if listening to your heart isn’t as fruitful from the very start as you expect it to be, it doesn’t mean doing it was the wrong choice all along.
Remember, even if you fail (which is all a part of real life and your personal growth), you’ll always know you tried and gave your best, and this is exactly the message conveyed in the song Follow Your Heart from Urinetown.
You’ll know you did exactly what you wanted to do in that moment (despite it turning out to be a bad decision in the long run) and that should be more than enough.
On the other hand, if you never go after your emotions and never put in effort to listen to your heart, you’ll always wonder what could have happened.
Don’t allow yourself to spend the next few years with all of those “what ifs.” Don’t give up after the first failure.
Never lose hope and faith!
Would you be a different person if you had the bravery to go with the flow?
If you took your life in your own hands and did exactly what you wanted to do, instead of what you thought you had to do?
One inspiring Follow Your Heart quote says: “If you don’t follow your heart, you might spend the rest of your life wishing you did.”