If you’ve been disappointed by love again and again, it can be hard to know whether you should follow your head vs heart when searching for the one.
Following your heart in love is often a double-edged sword. On one side, you share your most vulnerable self, risking it all for a chance at true love.
But on the other hand, every time you get hurt, it’s difficult to trust again. And it’s not just others you stop trusting – you also stop trusting yourself – your decisions, feelings, and intuition.
This is a guest post from Soo Takiguchi from Mind Full Bloom. Thank you for writing for Share to Inspire blog.
Table of Contents
Don’t Follow Your Heart
Following your heart, generally, means letting your feelings be your guide. You tend to fall in love quickly or give too generously.
While wearing your heart on your sleeve might sound like a noble thing, it’s actually not. You need to decipher whether someone is truly worth it before you dive in heart-first.
Letting your heart be your guide will lead to passion but not permanence. It takes more than the feeling of love to determine whether someone will be a suitable long-term partner.
A soulmate is someone who you have strong chemistry with on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
So, to follow your head vs heart? The key is learning to balance your head with your heart, so you make better decisions when it comes to love.
Of course, this won’t guarantee you’ll never get hurt again. But you will be able to find out sooner if someone isn’t the one for you and save your valuable time.
How Our Hearts can be Misleading in Love
You Ignore Red Flags
Red flags can tell us when someone is not ready for a serious relationship. It could be that they’re untrustworthy, disrespectful, or can’t stay sober for long.
But when we’re blinded by love, we tend to only see the good in someone. While this is not completely bad, we must also acknowledge their flaws. This way, we’ll have a clearer perspective on who the person really is.
You Keep Falling for the Same Type of Person
Do you ever wonder why you keep attracting the same type of person or relationship dynamic? Maybe it’s a partner who’s never available, not good with money, or crushes your self-esteem.
You keep attracting this same type of person because it’s what feels most familiar to you.
“Anything that is new, even if it is good, will feel uncomfortable until it is also familiar. Our brain works the opposite way, too, in that whatever is familiar is what we perceive to be good and comfortable, even if those behaviors, habits, or relationships are actually toxic or destructive.” (Brianna Wiest, The Mountain is You)
If you’re not careful, your feelings will lead you to keep creating the same type of dysfunctional relationships.
Therefore, you must make choices that are aligned with what you truly want, and not act merely on what feels good at the moment.
You Have Unrealistic Expectations
Falling in love is blissful in the short term, but eventually, these feelings will fade.
This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be unhappy with your partner. But it does mean that your partner alone can’t provide you with lasting happiness. That’s because no one can – that’s your job.
But when we follow our hearts, we tend to assume that good feelings alone are enough to sustain a life-long relationship.
“Many people become confused when they fall in love. They think that if you love someone you should want to be together forever. If you break up, they mistakenly assume that you didn’t really love them and as a result, they feel betrayed. People do not realize that love is not enough.” (John Gray, Ph.D., Mars, and Venus on a Date)
More important than how good someone can make us feel – is how they react and respond when we’re feeling at our worst. But if we get too attached to all the good feelings, we’ll forget that our partners won’t always make us feel this way.
Misconceptions about following your head
You don’t have to change who you are
You can stop letting your heartstrings drag you around every which way. But this doesn’t mean you have to change who you are.
If you’re an emotional, sappy type – you don’t have to become mean and rigid. It’s not about suppressing your true self. Rather, it’s about making decisions from a larger, more integrated part of yourself, i.e. – with your head too.
Don’t suppress your emotions
It’s important that we listen to our emotions. They have so much to teach us. However, we often misunderstand them.
Our emotions are the feeling equivalent to what’s going on inside our heads. For example, when we feel love it’s because we’re allowing ourselves to think loving thoughts. So, following your head vs heart, it doesn’t require blocking out your emotions.
Emotional Thinking leads to bad decisions
We should take our emotions into account when making important decisions, but not act on our emotions alone. If we do, we’ll end up with poor decisions we’ll regret later.
When we feel bad, this doesn’t always mean that we need to stop what we’re doing or change direction. Your negative emotions may only be a reflection of your negative beliefs that you need to let go of.
How to balance following your head vs. heart
Don’t make emotional decisions
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting your heart play a central role in your dating life. However, letting it dictate your decisions is a recipe for disaster.
Impulsive decisions based on emotions lead us to:
- Jump too quickly into serious relationships
- Act based on our past, unhealed trauma
- Judge someone solely on how they make us feel
- Not maintaining personal boundaries and standards
Take a step back
When we meet someone new, we often want to rush to the finish line. We want to skip ahead to all the good feelings that new love brings.
But we must learn to not rush the process of forming a new relationship. If we do, we skip over important stages such as:
- Establishing boundaries and expectations
- Communicating our needs clearly
- Discerning someone’s true character
- Making sure our values are aligned
Instead of making hasty decisions, take a step back. Slow down your decision-making process. It’s okay to take more time to really think things through before committing to a serious relationship.
Plus, a worthy partner will respect this process and not pressure you into making rash decisions.
Practice self-reflection by taking time to journal and ruminate. Explore your feelings by questioning their deeper causes. Allow yourself to indulge in your doubts and question if they’re valid or not.
Be aware of the underlying motivations behind your impulses. For example, if you’re strongly drawn to someone whom friends have warned you about – reflect on what it is about them you find so magnetic.
Then ask yourself – is this a person you really want a relationship with or are you just seeking a validation boost?
Or if your impulse is to dive quickly into a new relationship, ask yourself if this is truly motivated by love, or by merely a fear of being alone. If it’s motivated out of fear, then you’re likely not making quality decisions that will bring you long-lasting happiness.
Listen to your doubts
While our hearts are full of hope, our heads tend to be much more cynical. However, having doubt isn’t always a bad thing.
Listen to your doubts just as much as you listen to your heart. But you don’t have to act immediately on them either.
Pay attention to doubts that come up about your love interest’s character or intentions. Be discerning based on their actions, not merely on their words.
Sometimes doubts are unfounded. Other times, they’re right on and will protect you from wasting more valuable time with the wrong match.
Not All Doubts are Bad
If you have some doubts when dating someone new, it doesn’t always mean the relationship isn’t right. But it can point out some areas that you might have challenges with.
For example, say you’re dating someone new, but your doubts keep nagging at you. You can tell that your love interest has issues with money and is not good at managing it. Now, it’s up to you to decide whether this is a flaw you’re willing to live with and work through it, or if it’s a deal breaker.
Be Willing to Walk Away
Finding your soulmate means also having the strength to walk away from those who aren’t right for you. While our heads give us the reasons to walk away, it’s our hearts that provide us with the courage to act on it – and believe that we will find someone much better for us.
The idea of staying with someone no matter what is not realistic or healthy. Staying with someone no matter how they treat you is not a sign of unconditional love. Rather, it shows that you’re not being loving yourself.
Sharing is Caring
We must love ourselves by maintaining firm personal boundaries and standards.
This means walking away from who is not right for us. If someone shows you that they don’t respect you or your relationship, it’s time to move on and let them go.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them – the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou
Love from a Distance
Walking away doesn’t mean you have to stop loving someone. Instead, you can continue to love them, but from a distance.
Love yourself enough to not waste time with someone who’s proven that they won’t be a worthy life-long partner.
The harsh reality is: if you’re not willing to walk away from someone who mistreats you – then you’re not respecting yourself, and your partner won’t respect you either. And love means nothing if it’s not also backed by respect.
Stop Being Too Selfless
Falling in love doesn’t mean we must become selfless. In fact, when we lose touch with our own identities, it only hurts our relationships.
We must remember to love ourselves first. And this requires us to be self-ish.
It’s selfish to prioritize your well-being and cut people out of your life who only bring you down. It takes selfishness to stay true to who you really are, instead of conforming to others’ demands.
Loving another unconditionally isn’t about being selfless. And playing the role of a martyr is often only a disguise for low self-worth.
Only Give When It’s Reciprocal
You must establish boundaries and a healthy dynamic early on in the relationship. This requires that you only give when it is being reciprocated. Don’t overly give up your time, (attention, gifts, actions, etc.) if your partner is not willing to do the same.
For example, say for Christmas you go out of your way to prepare your partner a special gift and homemade dinner. But they didn’t even bother to give you a gift too, let alone a card.
Or perhaps you act like their significant other, yet they won’t confirm if you’re even monogamous.
When this happens, you need to take a step back. See if they’re willing to put in the same effort before you go all out. And if they aren’t, then you’ll know that they’re not worthy to remain in your life.
Follow Your Head and Your Heart in Love
So why follow your head vs heart? Letting our hearts alone guide our way through love is a bad idea. However, balancing our heads with our hearts gives us the necessary perspective to find the right long-term partner.
Our hearts allow us to see the best in someone and feel our deep connection with them. In our hearts, we can feel our emotions and learn from them.
But it’s our heads that provide us with the discipline to uphold our personal boundaries and decipher whether someone will be a worthy partner.
Growing in Love
Love is not genuine if it’s not also backed with action. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow our heads by acting on what’s truly best for us.
But at the same time, we must always remain open to our hearts, because it’s our hearts that believe and know we will find love again, even when we’ve been hurt before.
So, if you question whether to follow your head vs heart, remember that there is wisdom in each, and finding balance is the key.
More About the Author
Soo Takiguchi is a blogger from Honolulu, Hawaii who’s currently living in Japan. Her aim is to inspire women to love themselves and live their best lives through mindful living and self-improvement. Check out her blog mindfullbloom.com.