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Listen to Your Heart?

listen to your heart

I do recently have trouble making a certain decision and talked with a friend about it when he replied: “Listen to what your heart says, that’s how you will find out if it’s right or not”. I didn’t tell him but I thought to myself: “This is either a platitude or I am heartless”. I know, it’s well-meant and family and friends always want you best, by implication, they want you to make the decision that makes you happy the most. That’s probably how “Listen to your heart” is meant. They simply express that they want your best. And understandably, some questions can only be answered by yourself. Like my mother said: “I understand all the pros and cons you brought up and why you have difficulties to decide, but I feel, if I suggest either direction, you could realize it was wrong and I really want that you make the decision that makes you happy”.

But the question still remains, how do you make a decision if you have absolutely no clue yet which way it’ll be best for yourself? It’s probably difficult to answer without context but this is a life-long riddle for me as it is not the first time I’ve been in this situation. There have been times in my life when I found the answer last-minute but other times I could have come up with a platitude as well, which often has been “Time will tell”, so basically the same as “Time ran out and everything remained as is”.

While I don’t like platitudes, I do at least agree with my friends and family that I am often overthinking stuff. I have a certain degree of perfectionism, which is sometimes very helpful and other times super obstructive, especially in cases where a decision has to be made. I don’t think that I will lose this quirk in this life. On the other side, some decisions are really difficult enough, that the good old method of weighting the pros and cons won’t help either. Especially if the weight on both sides of the scale is equal.

If you’re curious about the decision I try to make, I think I am still too confused to write about it. But I might do that in the near future if I feel like putting my thoughts out there and getting feedback could help me. For now, I just needed to vent and mention a certain type of conflict that I find super annoying and stressful.  Anyway, maybe you’ve experienced that too in your life. Do you know the conflict of inner strife? Did you develop your own methods of reaching clarification?

11 Comments »

  1. Perfectionism is great at work, not so great in relationships. We tend to do our work very well, sometimes beyond the necessary, but in relationships, we over-explain and over-think far too much. Women try to make everything “work.” We try to make everyone happy and healthy. We tend to leave ourselves out of the equation and then get resentful when we were really set up the problem in the first place. My mother always warned me — probably through her own painful experience — that you have to take care of yourself because no one else will do it for you. In any relationship, it is the responsibility of both parties to take care of themselves, but also make sure we are showing to others that we care and they matter. It’s a hard balance to hit and the more you feel you need to make everything perfect, the harder that balance is to reach.

    • “We try to make everyone happy and healthy.”

      Oh yeah, that even counts for me and I am male.

      “Perfectionism is great at work, not so great in relationships. ”

      Often not even at work. Although it depends on the kind of job. I always want to do things right, it’s my nature. But in some fields, I was told they’d rather prefer me to do it fast. I already learned this quite early, like when I was 18 at my first job… it was a real culture shock for me. Like they don’t give a damn if it’s done right, they just want the project/task finished. That’s why companies have customer support… someone needs to tell customers why something went wrong. It’s the “mess is cleaned later” type of work philosophy I guess 😀

  2. Hey Dennis – as it turns out I’m reading a book on decision making at the moment: Thinking in bets by an ex-poker player. Only a third in but as with any book on social psychology it becomes pretty obvious, pretty damn fast how poor our intuitions are, and how prone to cognitive biases we all are. ‘Listen to your heart’ could be risky advice for some people!

    • I do agree, and sometimes I don’t even know what “Listen to your heart” means. Sometimes there are situations in life where you absolutely have no idea which decision is best. I mean, moments when you absolutely don’t feel what is best for yourself. In these cases, listening to your heart is no option.

      And I do agree, even if we can do that… our intuitions or emotions are not always the best base to make decisions. It sounds like an interesting book!

  3. For me, ‘listening to your heart’ is never a platitude and goes far deeper than just choosing what will make you happy. To balance mind with emotion, and ask the question of yourself in silence… we almost always know what we need to do, but hesitate when what we need and what we would like are not the same.

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