Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Have to Follow what You Feel

Last Friday was it. The end of my seemingly secure job as a sales representative for the number one snacks company in the United States. The job that I accumulated a healthy 401(k) balance with, a small vested pension and stock option benefit that I'll receive in the weeks ahead, and my two final weekly paychecks that I'll eventually use for an upcoming expense.

It took me a long time to make the decision to let go because it seemed like I fought so hard to achieve that level of financial security. I liked that sense of security and I liked seeing my customers. But, I wasn't happy. Not even at the beginning, before all of the "signs" starting pointing towards an eventual exit. I always had this feeling that I was like a fish out of water, wildly gasping for air so I could hope to survive.

I told myself that I was going to be as professional as possible during my exit interview. There was no reason to rant, rave or blame the company for my experience. I had to take responsibility for my part in this. I had to admit that I didn't follow what I felt. Not before I voluntarily advanced myself through the hiring process, before I accepted the position in lieu of another one, when I was performing the duties of the job each day, when things started to go wrong, or when I turned down other job offers so I could stay to please someone other than myself.

So when "R" asked me for my top three reasons for leaving, I was honest without being retaliatory. I said I was ready for a change and wanted to do something I was passionate about. I didn't feel like I was the type of person that fit in with the company's culture and that I was physically exhausted.

He said that he hated to see me go. I was a good employee and that I would be successful in whatever I did. But what struck me the most were his words of "you've got to follow your dream and you have to follow what you feel."

I think that's true no matter where we are in our lives or what happens to us. We have to trust our own feelings and listen to them. If someone hurts us, we need to acknowledge our feelings and decide if they still deserve to be in a relationship with us. We have to make a decision to either live an inner truth or pay attention to a mirage of promises.

Action requires a lot more than courage. You can be unafraid of making a decision or of its possible consequences and still keep your feet on the same path because you aren't ready to accept responsibility. What you can't be afraid of is living with how you'll feel each time you look in a mirror. Action requires a decision to acknowledge your responsibility for what you see and how you feel.

When you follow what you feel, there are no mirages or scenes of pretend. There's only truth; a truth that doesn't know anything beyond its own definition. It ends the phase of darkness and gives you the freedom to breathe as though no other possibility ever existed.


  1. You are wise beyond your years Helen...this is so true! I hope that all goes well for you with your new endeavors. :-)

  2. It is a tough road at times being HS and working, especially since the almighty dollar has little appeal to us. Others thrive on it but for the HSP, we die under it.
    I am a home support nurse. The pay is terrible but I love it. I come home (most days) feeling happy and energized. I have never felt that in any other profession. It is good. Very good.

    Strength to you my HS sister!


  3. High scoring HSPMay 2, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    Thanks for posting this. I needed to read this at this exact moment in time.

  4. You're welcome! Glad it helped. =)