Following Your Heart Doesn’t Mean Leaving Your Brain Behind

April 25, 2011 • By


This isn’t one of my typical travel articles/posts, but I was inspired to write this after hearing someone on a local radio show. It got me to thinking about how many of us settle for less than we deserve and I wanted to put forth the idea that we are worth more than we give ourselves credit for. I welcome your ideas regarding this topic too.


It sounds like a romantic and clichéd notion, everyone says it but the true meaning of it is lost on them.  I was listening to the radio today and there was a contest of sorts to see which couple had gone the longest without ever having uttered the words, “I love you”.  The “winner” was a woman who had been married to a man for thirty years and he’d never told her or their children that he loved them nor showed them any true affection.  She attributed it to his military training; real men don’t lay their true feelings on the line.

I keep thinking about that lady who explained away his behavior by saying he showed his love by supporting his family.   Why are we so willing to pin medals on people for doing what they should be doing?  Why are we unwilling to ask for more; are we so afraid to upset the apple cart?  Why can’t we explain to those who matter, that we need more than what they are giving?

If you are living with someone who can’t express genuine loving feelings toward you, they have relegated you to the status of roommate.  Would that be acceptable to you? Or would you know deep down inside that you can’t go on like that?  Truthfully, most people would probably accept it as their lot in life.  They feel as if they must choose their battles and even though that decision kills a little bit of their soul everyday, they won’t challenge it.

It takes an incredible amount of courage to stand up, take charge and demand what you want out of a relationship, out of life and from your friends and family.  No one wants to be perceived as being a bitch; no one wants to be rude or seen as being demanding.  What most do not realize is that an impasse doesn’t have to result in an out and out war.  I’m not saying go to your local divorce attorney and draw up papers.  I am saying that you have to ask for what you want out of life, but remember it takes a willing partner.  If that partner is unwilling, doesn’t it say a lot about the state of that relationship?

As I get older, I must face the realization that life has its limits.  Perhaps, this is why I doggedly insist on living my life in a way that honors me (and others) as a human being.  Some people, in their effort not to appear selfish, confuse doing what’s right for themselves with neglecting others.   At some point, you have to stop taking the weight of the world on your shoulders and being the sacrificial lamb.  Martyrdom has always come in the wrong  size and color for me.  And truth be told, most (self-absorbed) people don’t even notice when you have laid it all on the line for them.

When you have given your last, all in the hopes of being able to grab a crumb falling from their table, how do you eventually get back to sanity?

Living isn’t for lightweights.  It’s fraught with challenges, both beautiful and untenable.  It demands strength and tenacity and bravery.  Fear of the unknown and the safety of what is familiar conspire to keep us in limbo where we check off the days on a calendar that has no end.  We invest untold effort and time into things that have little if any dividends.

We linger when we should have moved on ages ago.  The worst thing that one can do with this special gift called life is to spend one more day where we are dishonored.  Some things can not be resuscitated; some things/people should be allowed to move on without us.  Otherwise, we become caricatures of our former selves.  Whatever is blocking you from following your heart, push it out of your way and never look back.