I have a good friend who recently got married to his long-time girlfriend. They’re both in alignment with following their hearts and pursuing what they love, and he makes a lot per hour but doesn’t like what he does.
He was told me recently that he was thinking of leaving – taking a year off to just do what he wants, and pursue what he loves without much of a solid plan. His wife completely supports him on this (and they have more than enough money and savings to pull it off), but he shared that his main worry was what her family will think. More specifically, as the new husband to their daughter, how they’ll view him for making that choice to just leave his job.
I completely relate to him.
Whether it’s “mainstream-thinking” friends, colleagues, peers or family members, there’s something common here that all “truth seekers” can relate to. Where we’re often given a pat on the back for fitting in and doing what is expected of us, even if it makes our hearts sink in the process.
Therefore having the courage to follow our hearts when they stray us away from the typical norm can be a very scary step. Our mind instantly fills with fearful thoughts and doubts:
“What will they think?’
“What happens if I fail?”
“How would they view me if they knew what I REALLY thought?”
… how will we look then?
For me personally, this was a big one. For many months after quitting my corporate marketing job I felt tremendous waves of guilt, embarrassment, regret and self-judgement as I transitioned into the new world of doing my own thing.
I felt cold fear that I’d made a horrible mistake, and felt stupid when I spoke with past work peers and didn’t have much to show for it. But for the most part, it was simply the demons in my head that I had to overcome.
And everything seemed to trigger it.
But they don’t know what you and I know, and my heart free. And about 9 months later I was living in the sunshine of Spain as a freelance professional with my girlfriend, and soaking in the sun and fiestas with this new breath of freedom in my life – and I haven’t looked back since.
After this whole journey, here are a couple of tips that I’ve learned:
1. First Work On How YOU’RE Viewing Your Transition
Judgements only sting when a certain part of you believes it yourself – even if just a little. So, every time I felt a painful judgement or stress about what someone else might be thinking or viewing about me, I simply left them out of it, turned it inward and questioned to what degree *I* believed it to be true.
Think about it – if you were 100% onboard and behind your choices without a single shred of doubt in your body or mind, to what degree would you really care about somebody else’s views? You wouldn’t. You’d instead simply correct them on any misunderstandings they may have and move on.
So, every irk, pain and frustration that hit a nerve, I simply explored it.
For example: If I felt that my father or brother did not support me, to what degree was *I* not supporting me? If I felt like a peer was looking down on what I was doing as “rinky-dink” or playing small, to what degree did *I* deep down feel that what I was doing was ‘rinky-dink’ or playing small?
Not only did this process prove to be very powerful, but one-by-one each issue dissolved away, leaving my mind free and in peace.
NOTE: There are many ways to do this, however for myself personally, the most powerful method I used for this (and still continue to do) for literally life-altering results was Byron Katie’s “The Work.” (It’s just a simply process of inner inquiry, and it’s free).
But whichever process you use, not only will this dramatically reduce the level of stress in this area to move forward, but you actually come to INVITE these stressful ‘judgements” to further your growth.
2. Reframe What’s Normal
For many of us, when our hearts take us beyond the ‘safe zones’ of what mainstream society deems as normal, we can enter into what is judged as more ‘weird’ or ‘hippy’ or ‘ridiculous’ areas. And this can be a massive obstacle for a lot of sensitive or truth-oriented people.
But it’s important to keep in mind, what is really “normal” anyways?
In the 18th century it was “normal” to burn women at the stake. Up until 1865 it was “normal” in the United States to own another human being as your personal slave. And I believe that in less than 50 years, we’ll come to view many of our current (“normal”) practices – such as massive ecological damage in the name of economic gain – as plain ridiculous and barbaric behaviour.
You know where I’m going with this. Think about it, how “normal” is it to sit in a cubicle all day doing work you dislike? How “normal” is it when 70% of a population is on prescription drugs and 35% is obese?
When we define “normal” as what the majority vote is doing, then it’s pretty easy to punch holes in these “mainstream views” and see that they’re actually sitting on pretty thin ice. And on the flip side, we’re starting to see more and more that commonly-held “weird” or “against the grain” views are starting to hold ground as being more the sensible, healthy and… well, normal approaches!
I believe that following your heart, your intuition and life within you is absolutely the most sane – and yes, normal – thing that you can do. After all, how can following our highest self and pursuing our full expression and actualization as a human being be anything less than spectacular and inspiring?
3. Understanding Your Role In The New World
They say “You can recognize a pioneer by the arrows in her back.” I believe it’s very possible that *you* are a pioneer, and are part of the growing minority that’s here to usher the world into a state of exciting change. A healthier planet. Balanced and more expressive human beings. Bringing sanity and balance and spiritual alignment to our desperately-needing world.
It’s very interesting to note that back at the time that the tides eventually turned on slavery in America and was abolished in the 1865, only an estimated 10% of the population was actually “pro-slavery abolishment”12. The other vast 90% of the population was still for it, (and actively fighting against the law to pass).
It’s like Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
So I say carry on. Continue hanging out with open-hearted people like yourself, and question just what IS normal around here before you’re too quick to recoil in embarrassment or shame for your heart-led actions.
1 Source: Ken Wilber’s Integral Model, 10% population moving tier consciousness
2 Closely relates to marketing characteristics seen in business of a product’s adoption life cycle where 13.5 percent represents “tipping point” from early adopters to majority mainstream markets.
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