When I was 12 or 13 I used to go for lunch at a local French cafe, which sadly is no longer there, with my family every so often. I remember one time, I saw a couple of women that were in their 20s having a glass of wine, laughing and having a great time. It was there, at that moment, that I decided I was done with childhood and I couldn’t wait to be an adult woman. A lady that lunches. I thought that being an adult meant being free, and whilst in many ways that’s true, the cog of work and life can often make us forget. I spent so much of my childhood wanting to be an adult but, now that I’m here, I wouldn’t mind revisiting that imaginative, optimistic head of my thirteen-year-old self. Turns out, that’s the real freedom after all.
Much of being an adult is actually having to make decisions based on what you want to do, versus what you probably should do. Otherwise known as the Heart vs Head debate. This cafe memory has gotten me thinking: imagine if our teen selves were in charge of our life decisions, without the knowledge of responsibilities, I’m sure we’d be more likely to follow our hearts.
Heart vs Head – Which one comes out on top?
Typically, when we talk of following your heart, it means choosing the least sensible option but one you may find yourself drawn to more passionately. It’s emotive, a decision you’d make if there weren’t any other obstacles in the way. The kind of feeling that keeps you up on a Sunday night, pondering leaving the 9-5 to go back to University!
Following your head however, means looking at things through an eye of realism. The more adult choice. The other side of the coin that reminds you that the 9-5 keeps the roof over your head and you have no-one to look after the kids whilst you go back to school.
The simple truth, agreed by many professionals, is that really you need to incorporate both. Leading with your emotions may give a temporary feeling of relief but in the long run it could result in regret once the implications kick in. Likewise, following only your head could mean making unnecessary compromises. After all, life is too short to not live the life you want to live. Depending on your personality type remaining realistic may be the only way you can get through life without feeling like you’re losing control. On the flip side, if you’re something of a dreamer (like me – hey fellow dreamers!)you could feel the total opposite.
Like we often say on here, You Do You.
So how to incorporate both the head and the heart?
- Try and connect with your future self. Would they thank you for making a change? How would you feel if, in 6 months time, your situation remained exactly the same?
- Listen to your inner circle. Nobody wants the best for you like your closest friends or family. Be honest with your feelings and be open to opinions. (reminder: you’re the ruler of your own life, decisions ultimately lie with you)
- Look out for compromises. Do you really need to uproot your life or can you make small changes to improve your current one?
- Take your time. Quick decisions often lead to quick regret so slow your horses. I write more about this here.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.Nelson Mandela
Important to note:
Before making any rash decisions consider the following:
Do you really want change or is this a temporary blip? Are you getting cold feet because you want to retain your freedom or is he really not the right guy for you? It’s important to remember the common saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” Are you comparing your life with the perception you have of another? I’ve talked about comparison before here and I still believe the underlying message. Focus on your own journey because we can almost guarantee that nothing is ever as perfect as it seems.
Decide what you can live with. The potential failure from following your heart or the risk of ‘what if’ by listening to your head. Once you figure that out you’ll know what to do.
Alternatively, you can always do what 13 year old you would recommend. What could possibly go wrong?
Let me know – what Heart vs Head decisions have you had to deal with before? What did you go with?
Thanks for reading 🙂
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I’ve been talking for a while about wanting to mark my birthday on the Blog and whilst originally I was supposed to go through the 30 before 30 list, it now seems irrelevant. So instead, I’m going to talk about 30 lessons I’ve learned over the last 30 years, in the hope it may resonate with a few of you. Look out for the special inputs from some of my family members throughout!