“You don’t protect your heart by…”

“You don’t protect your heart by acting like you don’t have one.”

— Author unknown

Image from abc.net.au

Image from abc.net.au

In my school days, I would often hear the phrase “Big boys don’t cry,” on the playground and in school. Being tough and strong were qualities associated with being a male in our society, even at an early age.

To achieve this outward persona, many boys began building shells—even fortresses—around themselves, so they could never be hurt, and never show what many considered the ultimate shame for a man: weakness.

Although this strategy may have provided some degree of protection against life’s bumps and bruises, it also imprisoned these boys in a world of limited connection. They were often removed from daily experiences of joy, happiness, and fulfilling relationships.

EXERCISE:

Should you see that you tend to use this strategy to protect your heart, take particular note of what it may be costing you as part of the fullest experience of life.

Consider reading the work of Brene Brown in such books as Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection, to move yourself to what she refers to as a “guide to a wholehearted life.”

Follow Your Heart

“When at a conflict between mind and heart, always follow your heart.”

– Swami Vivekananda, Hindu monk

How do you make decisions? Do you come to them through logic, or check in with your gut? Do they make sense or do they feel right? Are you a head or heart decider?

Many people use both, and enjoy knowing that something is consistent with their core values as well as meeting the criteria of logic and critical thinking.

What if these two types of thinking are in conflict? How often have you been faced with such a conflict in your personal or professional life, and how successful have you been in making such decisions?

Exercise:

Where could increasing your emphasis on your heart’s decisions increase your success and satisfaction?