Follow Your Heart: A Cautionary Tale

What is your life purpose?

From early on in my college career I wanted to study to be some type of counselor or therapist.  I knew that I was more observant than the average person and could watch people interact with one another and see exactly what was going on – the wrong buttons getting pushed – incorrect assumptions being made – resentments building – family patterns repeating themselves.  I could see it, but knew that people wouldn’t listen to me if I told them these things.  You push all kinds of the wrong buttons when you try to tell people what’s wrong with them.

Back then I told my dad that I wanted to study psychology.  He said that was a waste of time.  He said that all of those people studying psychology were just trying to figure out what was wrong with them.  He said he wouldn’t pay for my school if I decided to study that.  So after some bungling around in the science arena and realizing that I just wasn’t that passionate about the sciences, I settled on being a history major.

I liked the drama and seeing the repeating patterns.  I also liked seeing how history was evolving as humanity was evolving.  We like to look at how bad things are today  and think that nothing is ever going to change but the past was so much more brutal.  People change slowly, but they do change.

I decided that I would become a teacher.  But I eventually realized that teaching just wasn’t for me.  Dealing with the energy of so many people at once was just something that I knew would stress me out more than I could handle.  It would be emotional overwhelm to the max.  That left me pretty confused about a career path.

Perhaps I could have been a brilliant therapist.

Instead I bungled my way through some non-illustrious jobs while spending a lot of time investigating and dreaming about what I should really be doing.  I pursued some other career paths but didn’t really feel those were a fit for me either.

I’m not blaming my dad for anything.  I should have been strong enough to pursue what I really wanted to pursue.

My dad had some kind of bias against showing weakness.  Going to a psychologist would be admitting weakness perhaps.  But pretending everything is okay when you’re really cracking up inside is not exactly strength either pops.

My dad passed away in 2004.  He was not really a happy man.  I have my own opinions and intuitions about what went wrong there but I could be wrong.

And there is the dilemma of the intuitive.  Are your hunches really correct or are they just crap you make up in your frontal cortex?

The deep sadness I feel now is making me aware of how much healing I need to work on related to my dad.  Oh he saw my sensitivity as weakness.  And I couldn’t handle his negativity – so I avoided him.  He thought I hated him or something.

So here is the cautionary tale my friends.  Don’t let other people tell you what you’re supposed to do and who you’re supposed to be.  That will not lead you to happiness.

If someone important is blocking you or discouraging you from what you think you want don’t listen to them.  If they have too much control of your life – find a way around it.  Pursue what you want to pursue in a smaller way.

If you’re confused about your purpose or passion – make small moves toward it.  Whatever really resonates with you – sparks something in you – try to understand why it sparks that in you.  Investigate  – but don’t just investigate – overcome your fears and take some kind of action – however small – see where it leads.

Don’t let anyone else define you.

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5 Responses to Follow Your Heart: A Cautionary Tale

  1. Steven F says:

    i am also trying to find my career path, but feel overwhelmed and unsure how to tread. Your parents can have such a large sculpture on your own self, but you are also strong and have wisdom. Teaching is not for me either.

    • Yes, to me, the standard way that we teach is mostly about controlling people and getting them to conform to some standard. If they don’t meet that standard, then the educational system makes them feel inadequate.

      Yes, I feel overwhelmed too. I have pursued various different things and realized they were not right for me. I don’t want to invest a lot of time into something else to have that happen again.

  2. I love this post and recognise so much of myself in it. I actually did study psychology, but for one reason or another then didn’t pursue it any further and my career took a completely different path – one that did not make me happy or inspire me in the way that psychology did. I am at a place now where my career has completely lost its way – and again I am thinking I may return to some study (if money allows) to further explore whether counselling may be for me. Having undergone it myself, I am passionate about its power, and feel I could give all my energy to it. In my view it is never, ever too late to explore your passions and try and grab your purpose – in fact, having lived a bit, may well be a distinct advantage. Thank you for your piece, it has inspired me further 🙂

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