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  1. #1
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    Default Following Your Heart

    What does it mean to "follow your heart"?

    It seems like a clear, simple, and profound bit of advice, but I've never been able to make any use of it, and I'm sure many others haven't been able to, either.

    Sometimes I come across a fork in the road. It's not a simple matter of preferring one side over the other and choosing, because I've never been down either path before, and I know that my decision will probably impact the rest of my life. I pull out my heart and say "Please guide me, oh Holy Blood Pumper. Which of these paths is the right one for me?" My heart offers no intelligible response. "What!", I say, as I shake it. "Do you your job, dammit!"

    I can try different things to see if I can figure out where my heart wants to guide me, but it's just a guess-job and it never really feels right whatsoever.

    If I step into the direction of one of the paths, I'm not sure if it's where my heart is actually telling me to go, if it's fear that is guiding me there, or if it's my brain telling me where it thinks my heart should want me to go.


    In your own words, what does it mean to follow your heart?

    If you do it, how do you do it? How does it work? What is it like? Are there any tips or tricks for understanding your heart's guidance when it's very unclear? (Perhaps you could just try to make one up.) Is there a way to decipher the mysterious blood pumper when it does not have the capacity to communicate with you on a level that you could actually understand?

    I'm not asking for magic. I just think this is an interesting subject. We'll see what happens. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Following your heart would be in the "Probably A Bad Idea" pile along with listening to your libido.

  3. #3
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    LOL. I love this thread. I like how you opened it, and I relate so deeply. I've actually considered starting one on almost exactly the same topic: "Trite sayings that you just have never been able to apply to yourself." I've realized the same thing: "Follow your heart" is a phrase I've never, not once, been able to apply to my life. I can come up with a few possible meanings for this phrase; the most immediate one is "Follow your feelings as opposed to your head," in which case I think it's a silly bit of advice; I follow my thoughts and my feelings, because they're both important factors in my decisions.

    I prefer to think of "Follow your heart" as "Do what's best for you and what makes you happy," but if everyone knew what was best for them and what made them happy, life would be one frosting-covered piece of delicious-ass cake, wouldn't it? The choice between doing what makes you happy and doing what doesn't would be a no-brainer. The struggle is figuring out how to be happy.

    P.S. Again, this is a GREAT thread. I can really relate to your thoughts. I'm glad you chose this phrase to focus on exclusively, because I see now that it needs its very own thread.
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  4. #4
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    For me it's about letting go and doing what I feel is right even if it seems wrong and logic or fear are saying not to.

  5. #5
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    I never really got it either. My heart is mute a lot. That's when I pull out the flipping coin. In that split second while it flips and before I look, I listen, and then I look. If I feel a pang of unsatisfaction with the coin flip, then I know what my "heart" supposedly wants. (The problem is when it's neutral... And when I want to flip more than once- that never works.)

  6. #6
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    Default The Importance of Following Your Heart - Why Is It Worth Thought?

    I believe there is great importance in being able to follow your heart, as long as you can do it correctly, and that's why I'm trying to learn about this. When should a person follow their heart? When they are going to be doing something that has a significant impact on their entire life as a whole. Use a combination of head and heart to navigate through the path that you have chosen, but choose that path with your heart, otherwise there's really no reason to go down it at all.

    Examples that come to mind would be things like marriage or what you want to dedicate your life to. If you're going to marry someone or dedicate your life to something, you want to be sure that you're making a decision that resonates with your heart, right? You don't marry a person because you have a crush on them or dedicate your life to continuing your fathers business because you think it would be smart, secure, and safe bet. If you do, there's a good chance you'll end up miserable, and life is too short for that. We want to get things right the first time as often as we can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    "Follow your heart" is a phrase I've never, not once, been able to apply to my life. I can come up with a few possible meanings for this phrase; the most immediate one is "Follow your feelings as opposed to your head," in which case I think it's a silly bit of advice; I follow my thoughts and my feelings, because they're both important factors in my decisions.
    I totally agree with you here. That particular interpretation is one that I'd like to ignore because it only focuses on a tiny fraction of the potential meaning we could take away from it. We must dig deeper and make true discoveries that can impact our entire lives in a positive way, while avoiding assumptions that will only hinder us. The heart is not just about feelings, it's something much greater than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    I prefer to think of "Follow your heart" as "Do what's best for you and what makes you happy," but if everyone knew what was best for them and what made them happy, life would be one frosting-covered piece of delicious-ass cake, wouldn't it? The choice between doing what makes you happy and doing what doesn't would be a no-brainer. The struggle is figuring out how to be happy.
    LOL. Precisely. And it's not just a problem with figuring out how to be happy, but figuring out which path would best allow you to become happy. If you hate your desk-job career, you may easily be able to choose which office chair you like the most and buy it, but that's not going to make you happier. What's going to make you happier is figuring out which career your heart says is right for you and then putting all of your intellect into making it happen. And we struggle, because we say things like "Well, I love music, but could that be a career? Is my heart really in it enough? Sometimes I don't even play for weeks..." It's very unclear, and we don't know what to do, so we sometimes end up stuck. Like you said, if we knew what would be best for us with absolute clarity, we'd already be doing it!

    Some people are blessed enough to just automatically know what their heart says is best for them. They choose to marry a person or to dedicate their life to a specific cause without hesitation. And I'm not talking about blindly just following your feelings. Hey, there's risk in everything you do, but knowing exactly what you want to do and being willing to take that risk seems awfully empowering to me. (And like I mentioned before, you're still using your analytical skills to navigate the path, it's just that you're choosing the path itself with your heart.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity View Post
    For me it's about letting go and doing what I feel is right even if it seems wrong and logic or fear are saying not to.
    I have never once in my life experienced something like that! Are you one of those people I was just talking about in my last paragraph? Okay, so you say it's about letting go, and I understand the concept of that quite well, but I don't understand the application. How is it done? How does one simply let go and do what feels right? Heck, for starters, I'd be happy with just letting go and analyzing what feels right.

    I think that, with me, fear is not something that I can identify within myself easily because I'm an extremely logical person. For example, if I liked a woman but I thought it wasn't going to work out for some reason, I'd have a hard time believing I was calling it quits out of fear instead of just doing what seemed to make sense. And the brunt of any negative emotion that I may suffer from a situation like this would be the result of going through with something that I didn't think made sense, rather than losing that specific someone. (This is for example purposes only. Obviously there's all kinds of different levels of feelings that I could have for a person, among many other considerations that should be taken into account for a more accurate portrayal of how a situation like that would actually go.)

    Plus, once I make up my mind to abandon a person, or a thing, like music, for example, I adjust quickly. However, I think that after doing that enough times, I start to realize what a huge void I am living in. Just because I can get used to something doesn't mean I should. I could avoid relationships all together, for example, just to escape all the negative consequences of relationships, and I'd probably make it out alive. But the question is, would I be alive enough? I want to experience everything in life and that means that I have to be able to distinguish the difference between fear, logic, and love in my decision making.

    It's obvious, if you read all that, that a person like me would have trouble "following my heart". It's so buried and mixed in with everything else. But, just because I'm not good at it, that doesn't mean that I won't try to figure it out! I would guess, at this point in time, that it's probably one of the most important things I could learn how to do in my lifetime because it's sort of like the foundation required for fulfillment and happiness to be achieved on any level that I could be truly satisfied with.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  7. #7
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    Default Incoming Ideas

    Great replies so far, people. And remember, if you don't know the answer, you can always feel free to make one up. You might just end up coming up with something amazing. Speak as though you know exactly what you're talking about, because you might! I encourage you all to make up a solution. And, of course, I'm still looking to find answers to the questions posed in the opening post. Every perspective is treasure in our brains, abundant, and traded freely.

    Sometime relatively soon, I'm going to do just what I'm encouraging you all to do. I'm going to brainstorm and make up a bunch of potential solutions or helpful tricks. Then I will refine them and share them here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colors View Post
    I never really got it either. My heart is mute a lot. That's when I pull out the flipping coin. In that split second while it flips and before I look, I listen, and then I look. If I feel a pang of unsatisfaction with the coin flip, then I know what my "heart" supposedly wants. (The problem is when it's neutral... And when I want to flip more than once- that never works.)
    Ah, this is very interesting! I've helped other people make decisions with a similar method before. I think it shares the same basic element of resolution. If someone was stuck between choosing one of two things, I would choose one for them, with a coin flip, or just by making it up, and then I would ask them how they felt immediately after we had reached the conclusion. If they felt relieved, it was the right choice. If they felt reluctant, then it was the wrong choice and they can simply reverse it.

    I hadn't thought of this method when I created this thread. I would think that tricks like this only work with the small decisions in life, instead of the huge and potentially life altering ones. As you said, sometimes you might feel neutral and want to flip again and again. Then you know you're definitely not doing what your heart says is right.

    But, perhaps there is something to this. Maybe it can built upon. Or maybe it would work just like it is in some cases. Who knows? It's nice to see that you're in the same boat as me and that you've got at least something to help you along. Thank you. Everybody.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #8
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    The heart is not just about feelings, it's something much greater than that.
    Absolutely, it's a lot more than feelings but at the same time less conscience, hence the problem in understanding what it's telling us.

    Some people are blessed enough to just automatically know what their heart says is best for them. They choose to marry a person or to dedicate their life to a specific cause without hesitation. And I'm not talking about blindly just following your feelings. Hey, there's risk in everything you do, but knowing exactly what you want to do and being willing to take that risk seems awfully empowering to me. (And like I mentioned before, you're still using your analytical skills to navigate the path, it's just that you're choosing the path itself with your heart.)
    Following your heart is more than doing what will make you happy, those things can be quite superficial and short lived, but it is about achieving a certain feeling. I think your heart is where your passion is.

    I have never once in my life experienced something like that! Are you one of those people I was just talking about in my last paragraph?
    Nope, wish that I were. I have an idea of what my heart wants and I'm working on not allowing my fear or doubts hold me back but I'm certainly not there.

    Okay, so you say it's about letting go, and I understand the concept of that quite well, but I don't understand the application. How is it done? How does one simply let go and do what feels right? Heck, for starters, I'd be happy with just letting go and analyzing what feels right.
    I let go by stopping analysing so much, focusing on the end goal and how I would feel when I have it and then I accept things as they are even if they do not fully make sense or are not what my ego wants. How does it feel? A combination of relief and scary. I guess it's about trusting in the universe, knowing that others have been where I am and survived, believing that as long as I'm true to myself things will work out... I should probably point out I'm an unashamed optimist and can see the silver lining in anything, I find that's important here

    I think that, with me, fear is not something that I can identify within myself easily because I'm an extremely logical person. For example, if I liked a woman but I thought it wasn't going to work out for some reason, I'd have a hard time believing I was calling it quits out of fear instead of just doing what seemed to make sense. And the brunt of any negative emotion that I may suffer from a situation like this would be the result of going through with something that I didn't think made sense, rather than losing that specific someone.
    There is a big difference between calling it quits because it's wrong and fear, sometimes that's a hard thing to recognise whilst in the situation. For me, if it's wrong it's wrong, if it's fear it can still feel right but the emotions make me want to back out. It's that little voice that doubts me, that walks away from a situation by making an excuse. It means something different to everyone but for me it's fear of failure, being exposed or inadequate.

    Plus, once I make up my mind to abandon a person, or a thing, like music, for example, I adjust quickly. However, I think that after doing that enough times, I start to realize what a huge void I am living in. Just because I can get used to something doesn't mean I should. I could avoid relationships all together, for example, just to escape all the negative consequences of relationships, and I'd probably make it out alive. But the question is, would I be alive enough? I want to experience everything in life and that means that I have to be able to distinguish the difference between fear, logic, and love in my decision making.
    So I understand the logic part, for me 'following my heart' comes before that but after the fear. For me allowing someone to get close to me is scary, I could do like you say and avoid relationships altogether in order to avoid feeling like shit when they don't work out but I believe I would be missing out on something amazing. So I feel the fear of revealing my true self or the fear of being hurt and follow my heartís desire to feel love, when I do that I acknowledge my fears and release them... after that logic hits and it will either work or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colors
    That's when I pull out the flipping coin. In that split second while it flips and before I look, I listen, and then I look. If I feel a pang of unsatisfaction with the coin flip, then I know what my "heart" supposedly wants.
    I like it

  9. #9
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    I so relate to the OP.

    The fact that I can actually recall each specific time in my life when I've deliberately made the choice to follow my heart even when my head wasn't quite okay with it, tells me that I really need to work on this.

    I've figured there are times when following your heart is the only way to go, some decisions that have to be made with the heart and not the head, where I'll always concede that heart has ultimate authority. Things like getting married. No matter how convenient it might be to marry a person or how much you can see intellectually that it might be a good idea, if you don't love the person, if your heart is against it and you're not happy about it, don't fucking do it. For example.

    Then there are other things where the head has to have ultimate authority - choosing a mortgage or insurance policy for example, it really doesn't matter whether the lovely colours on the paperwork make you feel peaceful or whether the salesman was really nice or whether the name of the company is the same as your beloved and departed Grandfather's middle name. This is no time to be sentimental, this is no time to decide on feelings - look at the math; engage the head.

    I remember watching Mulan 2 with the kids (dreadful movie!) and there was a whole song and dance in it about following your heart. I just stared in incomprehension, not getting what the fuck it was all about or why on earth it was supposed to be a good thing. I disagreed completely with all of those 'heart' decisions in the movie and was with Shang all the way lol
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  10. #10
    Senior Member aguanile's Avatar
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    I have followed my heart and every time it has bitten me, so my heart is FIRED.

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