In today’s busy world, we’ve been brought up to believe that we’ve got to be ambitious, hard working, and determined if we want to get ahead.
It's no surprise we feel compelled to be busy, to better ourselves, and work harder to get more of the things that promise happiness: cars, houses, promotions, holidays. We may believe that the more we have and the more we achieve, the happier we will be. But even if we manage to achieve our goals, often we feel something is wrong.
Sometimes we keep going, striving for more because we believe it’s what we should be doing. So we try harder, work harder, push harder, and set new goals. Perhaps we’ve got everything we set out to achieve, but instead of contentment and happiness, we feel exhausted and stressed. This isn’t what we were expecting!
This goal-driven, competitive behaviour is more ego-based or what I call "living from the head." It supports our desire to look good, to be powerful, to compete and win. Living from the head keeps us on the go, working harder to reach bigger and better goals. It makes us competitive and supports the belief that we're living in a world where there’s not enough, where we have to outwit the next person to get more for ourselves.
This worldview makes us lonely and fearful. We suffer from "comparisonitis," comparing ourselves with others, seeing them as more successful, more powerful, more attractive ... and judging ourselves as less successful, less powerful and less attractive.
We have forgotten that there is another way to live. A way to live that allows us to stop and take a breath, take our foot off the accelerator and stop being so busy. A way that accepts us just as we are. It's a way to live that honors our feelings, which is... living from our hearts.
Heart centered living
Heart centered living asks us to open our hearts to life, to start feeling and responding to our true feelings. I'd describe this as "being authentic" or "being true to yourself."
It's a way of life that puts collaboration before completion and sharing before winning. Living from the heart means learning to love again: ourselves, our talents, skills and abilities, our bodies and our families, friends and colleagues. It asks us to shift the way we see the world. From the way we’ve been trained, as a competitive place where stuff and status are the way to happiness, to a collaborative place, where people and relationships including the one we have with ourselves are the way to happiness.
Heart centred living brings a new awareness to life. At an energetic level, working from your heart – from your feelings – raises your vibration. You begin to become aware of your own needs, how you treat your body, the quality of your relationships. And you may find yourself making changes that are surprising and new, not just in what you eat, but what you do, who you see and what you enjoy.
Making the shift
Most of us have been living from our heads for an entire lifetime, so it’s hard to shake off the habits and behaviours we’ve learned. Sometimes just questioning our way of life and all its assumptions can be hard. As well as being well practised, a lot of our behaviors are familiar and safe.
Making the leap to trusting your feelings can be scary and seem strange and unnatural. You may not trust yourself at first, or you may feel vulnerable or question your feelings. But there are things you can do that will help you learn to trust your heart and begin the process of learning to listen to feelings and act on them, rather than your ego-driven thoughts.
One of the easiest, most enjoyable and extraordinarily powerful things I do EVERY day is practicing gratitude.
Instead of seeing what you haven’t got, you start to see all the wonderful things you do have. Instead of seeing who you are not, you begin to see your own magnificence and power. Gratitude has the power to shift your entire world view.
There are many ways to practise gratitude. You could keep a gratitude journal and write down everything that you are thankful for, every day. You could practice affirmations that express your gratitude for the wonderful things in your life. You could meditate on the feeling of gratitude and imagine all the people in your life that you can thank.
See them passing in front of you smiling, and offer each one your heartfelt thanks for the gifts they have shared with you. You could put more photographs of your family and friends up as a way of remembering the good things they've brought into your life.
Living from your heart, and trusting your feelings to guide you through life, opens you to love.
Love for others and love for yourself. It is an essential step in bringing the mind, body and soul together to create high levels of health and wellbeing. Not only will you enjoy a more positive outlook and enjoy more fun in your life as a result, but every cell in your body will begin to enjoy the new vibration you are creating.
Exceptional wellbeing can be yours and the best place to start is by learning to listen to your heart!