What to do when you follow your heart but start to doubt yourself?

When you follow your heart, you are going against the stream. Because majority of the people that you know have long since learnt to numb the voice in their hearts- due to childhood conditioning or due to their belief that they could never earn a living doing what they love. And you become the minority of the people on earth that does what you know inside you that feels right.

Sometimes you feel that you have hit a brick wall and you want to give up because everyone’s telling you “no, you shouldn’t do that” and when you initially face one roadblock after the next, you start to seriously doubt yourself. “Maybe they’re right,” you say and went back living the life that you have once loathed.

But at this point, instead of feeling resentful, you need to know one thing- your family and friends love you, but they may not share your dreams and unconventional life direction. Don’t get upset with them.

For me personally, everyone I know asked me to go back to the corporate world and earn my living, save for that retirement nest and have enough to spend. I know my family and my friends meant well- and they see that I am selling myself short for not earning a living capitalizing on the skills that I’ve acquired throughout the years.

During times when my mind is very quiet, I knew I am moving at the right direction. I may not be successful at the corporate ladder- but I have energy and time to do the things that I love and help others. My mind seemed to get clearer and clearer as I research into areas of healing, in which I publish in my Health Blog. I am following my heart’s voice to move towards healing… a nudging so strong and consistent over the years that I left my job for it. And now, with a non stressful job that pays my bills, I use my extra time to learn more about healing.

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It feels right. But you are still against the stream and while you are moving against the strong current, you may feel overwhelmed or as if you might be drowning. There will be many people would tell you to give it up and take the ‘safer route’. Sometimes the current gets to strong and when you are about to be washed down….. you need a motivational boost.

I discovered a great book written by Andrew Matthews call “Follow Your Heart” when I was browsing through books in MPH. He was in Malaysia in March 2010. I managed to get a signed copy by him that was placed on sale on the shelves.


Note: The poster here mentioned “Happiness in Hard Times”, Andrew Matthew’s most recent book. I enclose the pictures because he had autographed on the poster with his signature cartoons. But the book I bought is “Follow Your Heart”


The book is a great booster- I almost finished reading the book at a single sitting. What he said make so much of sense- put in a simple language with illustrations. And because I am a visual learner, meaning I learn most effectively when I see pictures- the cartoons that he drew in his writings helped the lessons to sink in. Some notable lessons:

1. A lot of people are afraid of doing what they love because they worry that they will earn less and hence not able to support themselves. But the thing they may not realize is that by doing what they love, they get by happily with less. They need not resort to owning ‘toys’ to numb the pain of being in the life that they do not want

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2. If you follow your heart and are true to yourself, as well as changing your attitudes and outlook of the world, things around you will change- your health, your marriage, money, luck, success

3. Most of us tend to have our own ‘sob story’ and make our own rules. We wear it around like a medal- and get angry at people for breaking their own rules. These are the things that continue to drag us down and make us unhappy. It’s really simple- just disbelief the sob stories and don’t set any rules- and we’re well on our way to happiness.

4. For those who have the courage to jump straight into the unknown and uncertainty- like quitting a secured job- it’s often as simple as asking oneself- ‘What’s the worst that could happen if I were to do it?’. They answered the questions, feel the fear and do it anyway. Life is never the same- it’s meaningful and no longer mediocre.

The book cost me RM48. But the lessons and the boost that I’ve gotten from the author is worth much more. He does not psychoanalyse like what a lot of authors of thick self help books today are doing. He just put forward simple facts with examples and illustrations that are practical and works if the reader is willing to put it to use.

I am already applying a number of the lessons that he wrote about in my life- and they worked. But it is interesting to see some facts being placed at a refreshing perspective that makes me think, ‘hey, why I have not thought about that before?’.

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So the next time you feel uncertain or simply down in the dumps, buy positive books like those written by Andrew Matthews. Another option is to look for blogs by those who have done it. Some great sites comes into mind:


Note: This book is the Bahasa Malaysia version, translated by a local well-known author, Adibah Amin. I bough the English one, though.

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  • Julie

    Hi, thanks for your great post. It really got me thinking. I am now actually in a dillemma – I deferred my studies for one semester and come back from abroad, my original plan is to do some self-education in topics that I am interested but not related to my studies. However, when I came back, my mind got distracted by my just ended relationship. I know it is wrong to keep thinking about it and should have use the time in a more productive way, but still, I have difficulty to overcome the feelings. I know my heart ask me to move on, but my action did different. I really wished I could just focus on my original target, but what can I do to make my heart tough and move on?

  • Yin

    Dear Julie,
    Unfortunately I do not have the best answer for you on how to heal a broken heart- except that with time, and a change in environment, the pain reduces after a while. It’s a tough thing for anyone to go through. Try not to repeatedly think about what you have done wrong or things that you could have done another way- when we start to let our mind wonder back into the past, it will weave all sorts of additional dramas that will make us really miserable. Hope that things will be better for you soon.

  • rasna

    Hello again, Yin. That was also my thought- To do what I want in life not because of some expectations of the people around me. Fortunately, I always like reading and can’t live without something to read. I am thankful that it is easy for me to learn something because of my inclination to learn and will to succeed for something I want and longed about. I made mistakes in the past and waste my time for nothing. Nay! I’m still glad to experienced that part of my past though, because it shapes my personality better , deeper and with now some substance. [he he 😉 ] I’m still young and it is not yet too for me late to start again. I’m now a number one fan of your site Yin, you exactly reflect my thoughts. Glad I found a person who will share my feelings and thinking through her writings. A sincere thanks for you Yin, please keep it up.

    • Yin

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to comment on my blog. Well, no time is wasted- for you can learn from your experience and use it to help others in future. If we do not dare to take risks, then it’s more like wasting of life.

  • Mysty

    What do u do when u are a mother of two beautiful girls but u wanna leave your job & follow your heart travelling the world? I hav pain in my right kidney!

    • Yin

      Dear Mysty,
      It is indeed a hard choice- the heart torn between the yearn for freedom and the life of responsibility. I do hope you can arrange to take a short break- just for yourself to recharge your batteries. Too much of work and worry can wear one down. Take care.

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