Sometimes in our lives, we get into situations that don’t feel “right”. This could be a job, a relationship, a relocation, or even something related to oneself. We don’t recognize it at first, but when we do, it’s important that we know when to move on and how to make that decision; know when to let go.
When we find ourselves in perplexed situations, there are two things that we use to make our decisions: our minds and our hearts.
One is rational (mind), one is emotional (heart), and they seldom work together.
Many of us, myself included, think with our minds. Or should I say overthink with our minds.
When we get into a situation that no longer feels “right”, we began to conjure up a list of reasons that either confirm or reject our bias towards the situation. We create a pros and cons list that allows us to visualize and rationalize our thoughts towards the situation.
Let’s take a relationship for example. We make a list of all the good things: the smiles, the laughs, the flowers. Then we make a list of all the bad things: the arguments, the lies, the lack of trust.
As the list grows, so does our confusion. We use our minds to highlight the good and justify the bad. Or we focus more on the bad, and it begins to overshadow the good.
And we think…
And we think…
And though this list may be heavier on one side than it is the other, the answer to the decision we are looking to make does not lie in this list, or our minds…it lies in our hearts.
What does it mean to follow your heart?
It sounds like something you would hear in a Disney movie or find on a Pinterest quote. It seems so cliché. It seems unreliable. It seems unreal; until you are faced with a situation where your mind is so overloaded with opposing thoughts and confusion that all that is left is to surrender and listen to you heart.
Your heart and your mind are separate entities. And just like you cannot be in two different cities at one time, you cannot be in your heart and your mind at the same time. One must take precedence.
Although the mind is loud with constant chatter, if you are able to quiet it long enough, you will hear that the heart is louder.
It knows what is best for you. It is the pure, judgment-free, ego-free part of you. It is your soul, and your soul knows what is best for you.
As I write this post, I have freed myself from a situation that didn’t feel “right”.
A decision that was hanging out in my mind for several months–a decision to leave my job as an English teacher in Thailand.
This was a decision that I could not make up my mind about. I created a pros/cons list about it to try and rationalize my thoughts. I called my mom to discuss it over and over as I flip-flopped on what I was going to do. I journaled about it, meditated on it, and thought about it so much that it brought me to a stalemate on what I wanted to do.
And then I surrendered.
I stopped thinking. I got quiet. And I listened to my heart.
And when I did, the answer came to me, as well as the one thing that was preventing me from making my decision–fear.
Fear of the future. Fear of not having a plan (as I always do). Fear of what my company would think. Fear of what others would think. Fear of failing as a teacher. Fear of failing myself–all things that were made up in my mind.
Despite all of these fears culminating in my head, I knew in my heart that everything was going to be okay.
We all make big plans for ourselves—for our futures—and go on these journeys to try and find our purpose in life.
Sometimes we get into a situation that we thought we wanted, just to find out that we didn’t…and that’s okay. Because finding your purpose happens through trial and error, and sometimes you find what you didn’t know you were looking for, in a place that you didn’t expect to find it.
When you do, it’s important to know when to let go of what is no longer serving you, and move towards what will.
Fear of change, judgment, failure, or the unknown future should never keep you where you are.
Money should never be a reason to stay at a job. Loneliness should never be a reason to stay in a relationship. Nothing should ever keep you in a situation that does not feel “right” to your true self. Living your life in this way is a disservice to yourself and your unknown amount of time here.
I encourage you all, next time you are in a tough situation, or if you are in one right now, to listen to your heart.
Turn off the mind–the fear, the self-doubt, the uncertainty, the guilt. Turn on the heart–the compassion for yourself, the understanding, the forgiveness, and the intuition.
Free yourself from the idea that life should be linear, that change is scary, and that staying in a situation because it is easy is the right thing to do.
It’s okay to start over again and again until you find what you’re looking for.
Make a decision for yourself that will allow you to take control of your life and manifest a reality that aligns with your purpose.
Make a decision with your heart, not your mind.
And know when to let go.
From my heart,