Within you there are two voices designed to help you live your life successfully. One is the voice of your mind (reasoning) and the other is the voice of your heart (intuition). You need them both to help you maintain balance and stay true to the real you – your authentic self. The problem is, by the time most of us leave childhood we are short one voice. Over and over again we are encouraged to silence the intuitive voice of our hearts.
As kids we hear clearly the voice that lives in our core – the voice that tells us when something is safe or not, the voice that says it is ok to cry and feel deeply, the voice that encourages us to dream – to “fly.” Without much awareness on our part, the adult world systematically diminishes that voice with statements that cause us to doubt ourselves, feel judged or foolish when we listen to our hearts. By the time we are in 4th or 5th grade (at the latest) we have typically joined in dismissing that inner voice to the point that it is only a whisper. We become “rational thinkers.” We listen to common sense. We think with our minds and ignore the gentle nudges of the equally important intuitive voice.
Our world adores the mind. We applaud it as the most important part of ourselves. We worship great thinkers, idolize innovative minds, esteem those who can out-wit others, and aspire to be smart and capable. The mind has become the center of our culture and to honor and develop it we have built schools, academies and universities in every city and town across the nation. Even our religious institutions have bought in by rationalizing faith! But the heart – it is virtually forgotten. You can see this in the way we treat each other. You can see it in the way we fail to recognize the greatness of compassion, kindness, integrity, and unselfish love.
So how do we turn back to this voice? How do we recover what has been lost? Here are some ideas to help you return to the part of you that “knows” things the mind never will.
1. Acknowledge your loss. Think about how it was to be a kid and hear your heart more clearly. Think about what kinds of things it told you – how it guided you. Consider how much you live by your mind versus how much you live by your gut. Be truthful with yourself about the ways you have ignored your heart.
2. Stop being ashamed of your heart. Your heart is an amazing God-given gift. It is one of the most important parts of you. If you have let your heart become hard or bitter because of pain in your life then you probably don’t even want to think about it. You may be ashamed of the way your heart makes you feel. You heart is the keeper of the authentic you. It knows you and wants to serve you as a guide through this difficult and challenging life. Accept your heart and give it the respect it deserves.
3. Apologize to your heart. Put your hand on your core/middle. Stretch out your hand and cover the center part of you. Tell your heart that you are sorry for ignoring and abusing it. Commit to doing better and ask for God’s help. Breathe deeply and let the past go. Inhale a fresh new start.
4. Start the listening process. Begin to take note of the gentle nudges you feel from the core of who you are. Give them equal weight with the voice of your mind. Notice what your heart is saying to you about yourself. Your mind can tend to be accusatory but your heart will tell you a more accurate story. It knows more about who you really are. Before you make another big decision, stop and ask your heart what it thinks. Weigh what your mind says and what your heart says. Logic has its value, but it tends to be very linear like a ruler, a+b = c. The heart is about instinct and understanding. It acts more like water flowing into the cracks and crevasses of life – filling up and taking the shape of what holds it. You need both skills to navigate life successfully. Logic is not as adaptive as the heart, and the heart needs boundaries. To be fully human you must have a good dose of both.
Here are some qualities of a healthy heart:
It provides discerning guidance.
It offers compassion which logic knows little of.
It motivates kindness and love.
It encourages tenderness and soft edges.
It promotes generosity and giving.
It provides visceral information to the mind for proper decision making.
It is able to forgive.
It values relationships.
It is fluid and adaptable if well kept.
The heart is what takes the mind from thought to creative expression. It moves a human to be able to sacrifice beyond what seems logical. It drives hope and joy. It helps create goodness of fit in life and is the seat of inspiration. Begin the journey back to your heart by giving it the place of honor it deserves. Feed it Beauty, Trueness, Love, and Life-Giving things every day and create a healthy space at the core of who you are. Listen to what it tells you. Without it you are top heavy and unbalanced.
Explore the wonder of your own heart!
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein
P.S. Please Share!
Do you listen to the voice of your heart or do you ignore it?