We’ve heard people talking about it, and I’m sure we’ve used a version of it at least once in our life to other people. When your friend is down in the dumps, or at a crossroad and not knowing where to go; we tell them the three magic words: listen to your heart. However, do we truly understand what it means? If we do, should we still follow this romanticised advice that every kid show tries to embed in their storyline?
Let’s find the truth about this overdue myth.
We all agree that the human heart’s purpose is to maintain the blood circulation in our body. I’m no biologist, and I’m confident that the heart has other functions. However, being our moral compass is not one of them. The truth is our actions are fully controlled by our brain.
Therefore, this “heart” that we talk about is merely an imagery that reflects our moral standings and desires. At the same time, we have the “brain” that represents our rationality, and our drive to achieve effectiveness. The “brain” and “heart” are really just two sides of the same coin.
The newer, and significantly less popular phrase is “follow your heart, but bring your brain with you”. This seems to be a sign that more people are realising that strictly following what you feel at the moment without regarding much about the future, is not the way to go.
Contrary to popular belief, I am against the overused advice of strictly “following your heart”. We often fall into the trap of becoming lazy, and using our so-called “heart” as a moral compass, to justify the stupid things we do. Let’s look at an example I’m sure everyone can understand:
Natasha has a crush on David. Natasha thought David looked average, but was very nice. Natasha then tries to get to know David and hang out with him for a period of time. She found out that David is very sub-par when it comes to picking up social cues. Natasha finds this trait of his very annoying, but decided to go ahead and pursued a relationship with David.
So, first of all, it’s not my fault you felt personally attacked. Second of all, the focus for my explanation below is only on the role of the “heart” in this situation.
Objectively speaking, Natasha’s decision to pursue the relationship can be justified and completely reasonable if she believes that David’s inability to properly pick up social cues is bearable. However, if Natasha thought that his negative trait is insufferable and still goes for the relationship, it is unfathomable as to why she would do so. Unless, someone had told her to “follow your heart” and clouded her own judgement. (Or alternatively, she was overwhelmed with her feelings for David that she was able to turn a blind eye on his negative traits.)
To a lot of people, following one’s heart is a sorry excuse to turn a blind eye on other’s imperfections and settling down for the least bad instead of the best. If that is truly what they want, then by all means go ahead. However, it’s worrying that some of us are looking at this situation from a very narrow point of view. We focus so much on achieving a certain goal that is so abstract (such as love and happiness) that we are willing to put aside our own wellbeing for them. Is that bad? Of course not! However, it is and will get worse if you don’t put enough thought into it.
Our culture is filled with media that presents ideal situations and romanticised events that are not at all realistic. My advice? Accept the fact that you are a human with a brain powerful enough to contradict itself. Deliberate what the best course of action is, and live a life worth living.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE from a fellow writer (Sophie):
Just my opinion, I believe that we need to be a little selfless when it comes to loving someone. A perfect relationship does not exist, no matter how much people like to claim or movies or books like to portray. I feel that you and your significant other need to make some sacrifices for each other in order to maintain a healthy long-lasting relationship. That being said, we should also be rational and not give up our wellbeing for them all the time.