Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Follow Your Heart

This is the third in a 10-part series of posts on some simple actions that always lead to happiness!  Read the original post that frames this discussion HERE.

There is a long-standing battle waged between one's heart and head.  People who filter important life decisions through what the logic their head tells them tend to be seen as lacking in passion.  Conversely those who follow their heart in the face of logic are seen as hopeless romantics who throw all caution to the wind without a care for future consequences.  Which end of this spectrum do you fit?  One of the extremes or somewhere in the middle?
For me it is all about the heart.  I have not met too many people who have said "If only I had followed logic and what my head told me at the time."  For the most part I tend to hear people express regret that they took the logical or "safe" route and later regretted not going for what their heart really wanted for their life.  This could be in the context of a relationship, a career, or other important area of their life.
I guess it is easy for me because I am a hopeless romantic.  It is the primary filter that I pass everything through.  I am definitely wired this way when it comes to relationships, but I am also this way with everything I choose to put my time and energy into.  I cannot  do a job or any kind of work that my heart is not into and that I do not believe in.  Logically, I could have made some other decisions and my bank account would be the better for it, but my heart would suffer.
Me.  Completely fulfilled doing what I love following my heart.
I have to be true to myself.  That is a huge part of following your heart.  You must know your true self and embrace who you are.  Too many people surrender their true selves to the expectations friends, family, and society place on them.  Go to college.  Get a steady paying job.  Get married.  Buy a house.  Start a family.  Deviate from the societal norms or think outside the box and get labeled a hopeless dreamer out of touch with reality by those who gave up on their dreams.
So what is the reality of losing touch with your heart and being too logical?  It means surrendering your hopes and dreams for what you hoped your life could be for yourself.   Much of my path back to embracing and following my heart has been influenced by Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist and many other impactful works.  This particular quote captures the essence of what I am trying to say:
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream."
So many people are paralyzed by fear.  In the context of relationships it is a fear of making themselves vulnerable and potentially getting hurt.  In other areas of life it could be a fear of failure or judgement by others.  Allow me to quickly make a few points about Vulnerability, Failure, and Judgement.
Vulnerability:  The quote above really speaks to this.  Your heart will suffer much more alone than it will having made itself vulnerable and potentially be disappointed or hurt.  It is better to have love and lost, than to never have loved at all.
Failure:  What is the worst thing that can happen if you choose a particular path following your heart?  No matter what the outcome you will have the ability to re-start yourself and continue along a path that fulfills your true self in any area of your life.  Fail gloriously!
Judgement:  Those who judge are the bitter ones who have already long surrendered the dreams of their heart.  They cast aspersions upon those of us who still have the courage to follow the dreams of our heart.  RUN, do not walk away from these kinds of people!
I am not saying that there is no place for logic in one's thinking.  Ex. If in your heart you aspire to be a mountain climber please use lots of logic as you plan an ascent.  We need all of our wits to help us navigate along our path.  You can want with all your heart to stand on that mountaintop, but without the right logic employed at the right place you may never get there.
Middle Teton Summit this summer.
Follow your heart.  You will not regret it.