What Does it Mean to Follow Your Heart?
When I was younger my mind was in charge.
In college, my mind, my heart and my intuition were separate and unequal. My mind was very strong, and I tended to lean on logic for decision making. Did it make sense? Was it the ‘right’ thing to do? Was it in line with what I was taught? Emotion and intuition bowed to my ‘safer, smarter’ intellect.
Junior year I took a photography class. It was my first and only class just for fun. I loved it! All my free time was either spent wandering around taking pictures or in the darkroom developing.
Towards the end of the class, one of the grad student assistant teachers brought in a Hasselblad top view 2-1/4 camera. It was used but in excellent shape — pretty much my dream camera. She was selling it for a good price (most of my savings). I wanted that camera so bad!!!
This was my heart, or emotions speaking. It wasn’t my quieter intuition telling me to buy the camera, but my heart really wanted it.
So I took it into my logical mind:
- Did it make sense? No.
- Was it the ‘right’ thing to do, to spend most of my savings on something with no practical purpose? According to logic, no.
- Was it in line with what I was taught? Absolutely not.
The answer was a firm and clear no, but the reason I remember these events so clearly is how loudly my heart screamed against this answer. It took me two and a half weeks of daily inner wrestling to calm down my emotions to submit to my mind’s decision.
Looking back, I understand what my heart was saying. I needed a creative outlet. I loved photography, and had for years. It got me outdoors with a purpose. It gave me a reason to connect with other photographers. It would have been a grounding and beneficial addition to my life.
Did I need that Hasselblad amazing camera to do that? Well, no, but my emotions saw that as an opportunity to continue with photography. The creativity was good for me, and purchasing the camera represented a strong commitment.
Instead of hearing and weighing what my emotions were telling me, I let my mind shut the whole thing down. Sadly, once I finished the class I stopped taking pictures.
While I did not need a fancy camera, I did need to nurture and cultivate that creative side of myself.
If my mind and emotions (heart) had been working in cooperative harmony, I could have figured out this happy medium. Instead, I had an internal war and lost an opportunity.
What it means to follow your heart, is to listen to what your emotions are telling you. Don’t put them in charge! Emotions need the intelligence of your mind as much as mind needs the intelligence of your emotions.
Your emotions have valuable insight into what makes you happy. Let your heart speak!