In this article, Nataly Valdes Thompson shares her story on using your burning heart as a guide for finding purpose in life.

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Heartbroken – a burning heart. That is the feeling when situations are too intense, or at least perceived like that.  It is like the universe is collapsing and I explode inside. Suffering becomes physical and it hurts in my chest, like a crystal being broken. 

I was told I was a crystal person, too sensitive, too easy to break. Words were unconsciously creating wounds. I am not easy to break, I am not broken, I am sensitive. Deep and beautiful wisdom has shone brightly through that open crystal.

That burning heart was the feeling when a wound was created. Wounds that leave a mark. They’d become a way to understand yourself and how you experience situations, how you face them and how you overcome them. 

As I see it, personal growth is a journey through that burning heart feeling, that is leading to the deep understanding of your own truth, that is only yours, the rewarding and ultimate beauty that is wisdom.

Lack Of Purpose

The common question, that was at the base of that suffering experience, was nonsense, the lack of purpose. When situations are absurd, that contrast between what I believed was true and full of meaning and suddenly it was not. The questions; what for? It was all a waste of time, love and energy? There was no purpose?    

Those questions arise looking for urgent answers, and they are not optional but mandatory to continue, or else the repeated questions are painful, leading to dysfunctional cycles, where they present themselves in different shapes and confrontations, again and again.

However, the question was about purpose; true and deep purpose.

The Question About The Purpose

The question about purpose has been always present, in each step of my journey. It is unconscious and at the same time really practical, like the gas that moves my actions. Also, it is spiritual. It is like hunger for spiritual food. 

The question about purpose was always an existential one. I did not realize that until now, as a young adult woman. I have recognized the importance that it has for me, because creating a life with purpose determines that I can thrive and stop the creation of wounds.  

Existential questions were born very early in my life, they had to do with time, with death, with existence. I suffered if I did not find some convincing answers. 

Recently, I started to suffer so much at night, with questions that I don’t even know why I keep asking – they made me look to time, to the future, to family, to the very core of values, priorities and choices.

They sound like; what am I doing with my life? I wake up at 2 am with the need to run in the middle of the night, like I made a mistake living in another country, far away from my family; the people I deeply love. Why?

What is the purpose of a life if you don’t get the time to share those awesome memories with them? If I cannot share the beautiful moments of my little boy with my parents and other family members, happiness seems to me more meaningful when it is shared.

However, I have an open mind, I am open to debate and evaluate different scenarios, with different factors. I look for alternatives, but my heart burns, even after I have been making the same decision, “a good decision” for about 5 years, a rational thinking decision.  

I think an intelligent person asks deep questions and awakens the virtue of wisdom, and wisdom is not only rational but also comes from the heart. So I thought I would listen to my burning heart and what it has to say.

Nobody Seems To Understand The Long “Wait And See”  

How is it even possible that you think about the purpose of being in a better country? 

Hours later I was still at home with my little one, a 1 year old boy. I was his world, I had to be the best I could and try to create tiny networks for him, from city to city, looking for little friends and playtime. In each new house, I needed to create the sense of “home”, and I did it. We enjoyed that time, although we needed to move because the successful company that paid our stay has multiple new projects. 

Better? Is it better to be far away from the people that were your support network? It is a difficult question, I don’t know if it is better. When things get really difficult, is it better to be far away from those that truly know you and understand you? Not really, but I just kept telling myself “this is an adventure and a blessing”. I was with my little one and I had some support. 

However, deep down in my heart I wanted some changes, the home sense was something so abstract and so needed, but I kept trying to fit, to adapt, to change that feeling, for others, I decided to wait and see. 

Purpose And The “To Do List” As A Woman 

It was a long “wait and see” process to adapt, without being very convinced, because the discomfort did not really allow me to advance calmly to grow.Always under some stress and the feeling that something needed to be figured out.

Testing and trying, trying to give my best in an environment that felt often like too much to take. 

It was difficult to face another day with no clarity, feeling that confusion, with that question in my heart; why do I feel like this? Like I cannot adapt completely, like I could not fulfill the role that I was expected to conquer. I have my skills, my learning, my strengths, but there is always “that something” in me needing special attention and care. 

The day to day feels demanding, the demand is a long to-do list, I feel it’s almost designed for a superwoman. Why do I need more support? The long “to do list” put together my own demands to myself, the demands from others, the demands of being a woman; mother, wife, a family woman and a professional.

I gave my best, I achieved some goals and still feel disappointed as if I was failing others. At the end of the day I understood a little bit about myself, and that looks tiny, but was really a meaningful gain, because it enlightened some shadows areas. I needed to create a new story about myself, a story that can see some new features, some new meanings. 

On the image, there is a woman standing on the beach and leaning towards the sky, with her arms spread out wide. It looks like she is taking in nature. Photo credits: Slava

Self Knowledge And The Power Of Wisdom

Self knowledge was a key element for healing the wound of being misunderstood. When searching for purpose with no apparent answer and emptiness felt too heavy to carry on.

It was when I finally achieved some answers, that powerful insight from self knowledge. That helped me to stand firmly and believe my feelings were more than valid. I was able to face the world with pride, I was able to adapt the context to my needs. Now wounds were learning medals. From there I started to grow just like a plant that can stretch and receive the nutritious sunlight of some little wisdom.

I gave time for self-knowledge and to understand the virtues and strengths in me.

When you develop a virtue it is like you knock on one of the doors that lead to that house, the mysterious and fascinating house of human experience, where consciousness lives and brings you closer to its voice. The beautiful temptation to approach consciousness, that great diva settled at the top of the temple, luminous, virtuous, nourished, in balance and harmony, reigns as the rooted messenger of the gods. Too powerful to ignore.

Purpose Grows Throughout The Years

I understood that purpose is being constructed slowly, step by step, and that sometimes is interrelated to the purposes of people you are close to. And that the wounds and suffering you went through were a kind work needed to be done, by you to hopefully create healing not only for you but for generations, and that is not understood easily.

I understand that I am sensitive in a way that gives me deep and subtile power, so I can understand clues, be aware and focused on certain things that others cannot see, details and connections that are keys for deep understanding, so I can grow some sensitive aspects of reality with love. I love to help others by showing useful insights and learning together, that is the good part. The good part acts like spiritual food I desperately needed. My own call, my purpose.

On the other hand, if I try to give too much I get sick, overwhelmed, and chaotic, so I need to hold back and calm down, reconnect with things that are nutritious to me like music, art and nature. 

So many years with so many questions were answered in seconds.

If I unconsciously lose my senses to over stimulating elements (noise, unhealthy food, fast moving pace, intense negativity) I get sick, confused and even depressed. This resulted in physical pain and stress related symptoms. Hence, the nervous system in my body needs silence, darkness and peace in order to recover.

Again, I understood why some medical treatment failed and damaged my system, what I really needed was not that kind of medicine. 

After a long wait I see how my system responds, I notice patterns and recognize I cannot cope in the same way others do with overstimulation and a high performance multi-task style.

I pushed and pushed myself to the edge so many times, to be competitive, learning and practicing skills, being incredibly perseverant, still getting sick and having trouble to really understand why. 

Listening To Your Own Voice

Finally, I earned that insight to be aware that most of my attention focused on trying to fit and respond to external demands. I tried to like others rather than knowing about me and understanding how to use my qualities, and protect myself from the factors that prevent me from being well.  

Consequently, I listened more to others than my own voice. I tried to follow my intuition so many times and I was stopped by prejudice, and rushed in another direction. However, the burning heart was a light that guided the search for answers. I did research, and wrote my own new story, with more meaning because I followed my intuition. All thanks to that burning heart.

As a sensitive woman, I need support from the people I love. I understand that need and respect it as a fact.

I have the right to just stop, see and honor myself and say I can’t fit with those demands; overstimulation is not good for me, nor try to follow a rhythm I perceive as chaotic. I need to make a comprehensive “new to do list” so I don’t get sick, I must be respectful with my nature and my needs, in this way I can give the best my self has to offer. 

I set that as a powerful present purpose: respect and love myself as I am; my nature, being authentic, simple and focused on giving the best I have to offer.

When You Learn You Are A Highly Sensitive Person

It is like you are in a new land to explore and at the same time it is like you finally arrived at home after a long trip, you feel alleviated, so many things make sense. 

Sometimes it is difficult, I have to face criticism and unconscious prejudice. I can not explain I am HSP, because not all people understand. I try to face them with the mindset “we are evolving day to day and learning from one another, and that is the beauty”. We live between different people and have to face challenges to learn and grow.

For me the most healing experience is to rewrite my story with a more comprehensive approach. 

As a sensitive person you need time to warm up and adapt to new situations, you need peace and follow those interests that are actually nutritious for you. You need to answer the questions that are important for you, and live in an environment of respect, collaboration, compassion and freedom, so you can thrive.

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