Self Care

6 Things Your Soul Needs to Hear

April 7, 2016

Dreams are whispers from your soul. – Unknown

It’s early evening. I’m sitting on my bedroom floor, with the windows open, listening to the faint sound of waves in the distance. I inhale the crisp autumn air and I can smell the change in season, and with it the scent of possibility.

In my heart something is pulling.

Deep inside I know the life I’m living is miles away form the life that’s meant for me. I start to daydream about what that life might look like – but first … I look around.

To my right, my overflowing closet, spilling onto the floor next to me – an expansive tangle of handbags and ridiculously high heels.

If front of me, my alarm clock, reminding me that it’s late and tomorrow is another early morning.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, the mirror. I turn to fully face myself.

I look into my eyes and see:

A career that leaves me feeling empty.
A marriage that doesn’t feel right.
A mountain of debt that’s slowly drowning me.

I exhale and feel the weight of expectations, fear and self doubt settle on my shoulders.

I turn off the light and get into bed, my heart heavy.

When I sat down to write this post today, this is the woman I thought of – a younger me, alone in my room, trapped by my own fears.

I know she is not alone. I know there are other women out there with their souls slowly suffocating, holding back from truly living life because they’re afraid of failure and afraid of judgement.

If you’re one of these women – if like me, you’ve felt the pulling in your heart and the weight on your shoulders – then I wrote this for you.

These are lessons that I know at some point my soul needed (or still needs) to hear. I hope it speaks to your soul as well and helps you find your path forward. ??

If you’re struggling under the weight of expectations, fear, and self doubt, then I wrote this post for you. These are lessons that I know at some point my soul needed (or still needs) to hear. I hope it speaks to your soul as well and helps you find your path forward.

IT’S OK NOT TO WANT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE WANTS.

Give yourself permission to chase your dreams, not everyone else’s.

I know it’s scary. Other people will doubt you. They’ll tell you “One day, you’ll regret this.”

You’ll start to doubt yourself.

But trust me – when there’s a pulling in your heart it doesn’t go away, and ignoring it will only cause you pain in the long run.

I’ve walked away from careers, a marriage, a home and most of ‘things’ I spent my life accumulating – and to be honest I’m not even 100% sure what dream I’m chasing! But I know what feels right and I know I’ll never regret being true to myself.

RELATED POST: How Defining My Core Values Changed My Life

IT’S OK TO CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT.

I know we just established (above) that it’s tough to be true to yourself and chase your dreams.

So I understand that it’s even tougher to change your mind.

But remember this – trying new things means that you’re brave enough to take chances – and changing your mind means you’re wise enough to learn from your experiment.

Don’t be scared or embarrassed to change course if you notice something isn’t working for you.

If you’re struggling under the weight of expectations, fear, and self doubt, then I wrote this post for you. These are lessons that I know at some point my soul needed (or still needs) to hear. I hope it speaks to your soul as well and helps you find your path forward.

YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY WHAT YOU OWN OR BY HOW YOU EARN YOUR LIVING.

You are defined by how you make people feel. By how you treat small animals. By what makes you laugh – and by what makes you cry.

You are not defined by the shoes in your closet, the car in your garage, or the number on your paycheque.

‘What you do’ is what your passionate about – it might be your career but it doesn’t have to be.

Don’t be limited by the labels other people give you.

RELATED POST: How I Became a Minimalist (Why I Choose to Live With Less)

ANGER AND FEAR ARE NORMAL EMOTIONS.

For a long time I hated myself for feeling angry or afraid. I thought it was a sign of weakness and I was ashamed of myself for being vulnerable.

But time has taught me that these strong emotions are not something to hide; instead, research shows that they are actually key to our well-being.

Anger can help us understand our priorities (after all, we often feel angry when our values have been violated) or help us to better understand our needs. And I’ve learned that embracing fear can lead to great adventure!

Expressing your emotions is a sign of humanity and authenticity, and there is never any shame in being yourself. Instead of suppressing emotions, try to listen and learn from them.

If you’re struggling under the weight of expectations, fear, and self doubt, then I wrote this post for you. These are lessons that I know at some point my soul needed (or still needs) to hear. I hope it speaks to your soul as well and helps you find your path forward.

SOMETHING DOESN’T HAVE TO LAST FOREVER TO BE SUCCESSFUL OR VALUABLE.

One thing I’ve heard time and time again (and also thought myself) when discussing changing careers or ending relationships is, “there goes x years of my life – wasted!”

It’s a haunting thought.

But please – let’s consider a different way of thinking.

After all, what is success? What makes something valuable?

Were there beautiful mornings? Was there laughter? Did you learn something about yourself? Do you have memories?

The seasons of our lives will change, and they are all beautiful in their own way.

YOUR HAPPINESS IS A VALID REASON FOR WANTING OR DOING SOMETHING.

And finally – you don’t owe anyone an explanation for following your heart and doing what brings you joy.

But if you do feel obligated to respond, your happiness is reason enough. You don’t need to explain yourself any further.

You are important, your feelings are important, and your dreams are important.

Remember that.

In writing this post, I can remember all too clearly how lonely and trapped I once felt – just a few short years ago. If you know someone who might be feeling the same, please feel free to share this post. Thank you xx

photo credit : Serkan Göktay // Used with permission

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  • That story in the beginning was vivid, Jennifer. I guess you grew out of that stage in your life into a better one. Thanks for sharing those lessons with us!

    • Hi Daisy – I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I suppose the start was vivid because I remember it so clearly … in some ways it feels like just yesterday. I’m not sure I grew out of that stage of life though – it was more like a crash landing 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! x

  • This post is incredibly beautiful, thank you so much for sharing those 6 things! 🙂 I especially loved the last point you’ve mentioned, such an important thing to remember x

    Sara / AboutLittleThiings

  • Wow, just wow! Can we arrange so that I get this blog post as a reminder in my inbox each day 😉

  • I love this, Jennifer! The first point — that we are not defined by our careers — particularly resonates with me. I feel like I’ve spent so much energy in my life switching careers, trying to find the “perfect” career, and then feeling bad when it seems like I still haven’t gotten to that point. But you’re right: life isn’t all about what you do for a living (as much as it feels that way sometimes). Thanks for the post. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for you comment Sarah! I’m so glad this spoke to you (from another chronic career changer to another! ?)

  • Ahh this is exactly what my soul needed to hear. I know that I want to be a health coach and a writer, and even though I don’t like the job I’m in right now, the thought of taking another desk job somewhere just to keep the money coming in doesn’t feel right to me. All of my friends keep telling me that I need to find a new job because they know my current job doesn’t make me happy, but at the same time, it’s given me the freedom to be able to work on school work and my blog – which ultimately is what will help me get towards the job I want. If I got another desk job somewhere else, it doesn’t mean anything is really going to change. All I know is that I need to keep working on the things that DO make me happy because eventually I’ll be able to make them my career (I think? I hope? Haha).

    • I totally understand! I love change, but change for the sake of change isn’t always the best thing. I’ve actually done the whole leave my job, panic, end up in another job I hate thing a few times and it’s really demoralising because you go through the whole trauma of change and uprooting your life – but without any reward. Sounds like you have a pretty clear idea of where you want to go with you life, so I totally agree – just keep making more time for what brings you joy. xxx

  • This is wonderful, Jennifer. Thank you so much for writing this inspiring post. I can absolutely relate and have gone through very similar situations. Your advice is spot on and and so helpful. I hope that this post reaches many woman out there who are struggling with major life issues.

    • Thank you Alicia! I think so many of us have gone though similar situations (at some point in our lives) and I know when I was struggling it felt very lonely. I hope this post brings inspiration to women who need it too. x

  • Life Through Passion

    I absolutely loved this post. The last 6 months have been an extreme roller coaster ride between a high risk pregnancy, a rocky marriage, and every night I find myself sitting back trying to figure out which direction I need to go. My newborn is now 2 weeks old, I have a 5 yr old as well.. and i know so much needs to change, but the fear of not being as successful as I need to be as quick as i need to keeps me feeling stuck, lost, and confused. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    • Wow, thank you so much for your sweet comment and for sharing your story. It sounds like you’re definitely going through a tough time (and I can’t imagine how it must feel to be going through it all while looking after a newborn and a 5 year old!) I don’t have kids, but I can definitely relate to feeling stuck, lost and confused. Sending positive vibes to you and your little family. xx

  • Maria

    This is was me – currently separating, taking a medical leave from work to sort out how to spend the remainder of my life. Thank you again.

  • Alexandra

    Thank you

  • Sara-Rae Hoaglund

    Jennifer, thank you for sharing this very inspiring and refreshing post ? I remember when my soul was feeling stuck just like how you described, but just like you I changed everything to follow my dreams! Anyway, love this article and I’m totally sharing it ?

    • Hi Sara-Rae! Thanks so much for your kind words; this was a pretty personal post so comments like yours really mean a lot to me. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve changed your life and you’re following your dreams (and that you’re sharing this – thank you, thank you!) ?

  • Isha kadam

    Thank you so much Jennifer. i have been going through an extremely tough phase. i failed in a career choice that i made nd i have been quite depressed and afraid about the new choice that i need to make but your post has been a breathe of fresh air for me. i feel more confident and rejuvenated now. Thank you so much for helping me out.

    • You’re so welcome Isha! I know it’s not always easy to see, but ‘failures’ mean that we’re trying and we’re learning! And there is always something so exciting about new beginnings. Good luck with your future. x

  • Ellie

    Jennifer, i needed to hear this so much right now. My husband called me out of the blue to tell me he was leaving. My dad had a heart attack. I broke my arm. And now my business is on the verge of collapse. What did you do to get thru your darkest times? How did you navigate the anxiety? Thank you for your honesty!!!

    • Oh Ellie, my heart goes out to you! I know that sometimes it feels like all the bad things are happening at once. Probably my darkest time was 2004, when my father and younger brother passed away within a few months of each other. The way to get through it is to truly believe that things can get better. When they both died (unrelated deaths) my first thoughts were “how could my family be so unlucky?!” But then with time, I realised that sometimes things just happen … so if really bad things can happen, so can really good things. You have to just keep going and keep your heart open and ready for new opportunities.

  • Julie@ChooseBetterLife

    Thanks for your honesty. So many people feel this way, though few talk about it. It’s so important that we don’t feel alone and support each other!

    • Thank you Julie! It’s not always easy to talk about, but I find when my heart wants to write something I can’t help but follow. xo

  • I think I am going to print this out. I love it!!

  • Dani Balcom Kalagian

    I think fate brought me to your site. Truly needed to read this today…my life in a nutshell right now. Thanks for making my chaotic mind make sense. 🙂

    • Hi Dani, I’m so glad to hear this post helped you! All the best for the New Year and thank you so much for reading 🙂

  • I love this post so much! There are a lot of valuable things for me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. 🙂

    Lucie | http://www.inbluebox.com