How to follow your dreams and listen to your heart

How to follow your dreams and listen to your heart

It’s no easy feat knowing what’s right or wrong. We are programmed to just go in the direction our minds pull us but often this means juggling many different ideals and weighing up which thoughts to give the most energy to.

Our heads and hearts often live in battle with each other, as nature fights against nurture and we struggle to decipher which way is the “best” way to go. There are no guidelines or rulebooks to show us how to live to our highest potential or any certain directions to follow to make the most of the cards we’ve been dealt. The bottom line is that there simply is no right or wrong way to live our lives and there’s definitely nobody to tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing. But if there are, let me tell you, they have no place in our lives!

We are each unique individuals and should embrace this gift as we make our choices. From the day we are born, we are forced to make decisions multiple times a day: be it from which colour we decide is our favourite as we learn our first words, the toys we choose to play with as toddlers right through to the clothes we wear as teenagers, the people we want to be friends with at school and the subjects we choose to study or whether we perhaps opt out of higher education altogether and far beyond - to who we date, where we work and onwards into our everyday lives, forevermore.

But how do we know if these are the correct choices for us? The bitter truth is that we don’t. We cannot know in each moment whether we are making a sensible choice for our future or not. Should we even be worrying about our future? Isn’t now all we have? To what extent should we lend our focus forwards? What if something I choose today can change my life in fifty years?

None of these questions have a simple answer and we can never know what we should be doing at a given time. What we can do, however, is listen to our intuition. Sometimes we have a gut feeling about something we are doing - or not doing - and often it’s hard to listen to this feeling or follow our gut, but it’s important to take a moment to try and understand where we are being guided to.

It’s easy to continue going on a path that’s paved for us, but it’s important to stop in our tracks occasionally and ask ourselves a series of questions that will ultimately give us a vague answer as to whether the path we are on is the correct one for us at that moment. The ultimate response is going to answer a very broad but very important question: is what we are doing making us happy?

It’s easy to continue a certain way purely for simplicity, taking the comfortable road because we don’t know any better, because we are scared of change, but what I’ve learned in the past eighteen months is the reality of how precious time is. Time is not guaranteed and we pave our own way to happiness - that is both our biggest gift and our biggest flaw. We put pressure on ourselves to know how to live our “best” life, but also are too scared to make small - or big - changes that will ultimately make us happier. 

It can be terrifying to take a leap of faith or even back your own dreams, but the sooner we realise the importance of believing in ourselves and living life for us, the more fulfilment we will get in the long run.

At the end of the day, we are all we have and our dreams are our own to create, so take a moment to step backwards in your tracks, think long and hard about the pathway you are paving and focus on whether you are truly listening to your heart and following your dreams. Your dreams belong to you and nobody else. Your life is yours, and only yours, so make it count.

Lauren Loudon

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