When the heart keeps on kicking the ass of the head…


I made a decision recently. In fact funnily enough, over the course of my 27 years I’ve made A LOT! It wasn’t by any stretch the most important decision I’ve ever made but it did make me realise that I have my very own ‘Mr Grey’ character directing my life (and no, before you ask I haven’t read THE book!). The so-called dominant, controlling and downright ‘twisty’ force in my life is my ruddy heart.

To provide some background to my mini epiphany…I’d been um’ing and ah’ing for a while recently about whether to ask a guy out. Someone who I knew fairly well and could feel in my gut quite liked me but may just be too shy to do the deed himself. Yes, yes I can hear you all now – this dilemma is completely contrary to my last blog in which I so defiantly and courageously said ‘No more! Love is a lost cause’. But hey, it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and besides that, my gut was telling me to give it one last shot! So here were the wise words of wisdom my respective decision-making ‘bits’ threw into the mix: 

Heart: It’s a modern era! We bang on about equality all the time, so why shouldn’t a girl do the askin’ for once?! If you don’t ask then you don’t get. What would Samantha / Carrie etc do? What do all your friends advise, I bet they’re telling you to bite the bullet and just ask! If you don’t ask you’ll always wonder ‘what if’ – have no regrets! If he’s put off by something as small as you doing the asking, well he’s clearly not right for you…

Head: If he really liked you it doesn’t matter how shy he is he would ask you…so be patient. You’ve made it clear you’re friendly and approachable so let him make some effort. Your whole life you’ve always made the effort, isn’t it about time you waited for someone to do the same? Think of your reputation, if you get turned down you’ll look like a loser.

Now looking at those side by side we all know which sounds like the better, more sensible option…but we also know which I opted for. And let me tell you, they ain’t one and the same! And in case my jabbering on is confusing, to clarify…I went with my heart and the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped.

And this certainly isn’t the first time (or last I’m sure) where I’ve followed my heart / instinct and things haven’t seemingly worked out how I’d wanted. I’d say 70% of my decisions in life are made from my gut and the other 30% I’d say a combination of the two – either way, it would seem my heart is absolutely kicking the ass of my head! And it’s not just in the ‘love’ department either…I’m constantly battling my heart and head when it comes to work, friends, family, money, holidays etc, you name it and you can bet there could be at least two paths to follow!

Now before you think I’ve gone all split-personality on you, worry not these are never two pieces of advice given aloud or in public places 🙂 They’re internal conflicts and as a person who likes to rely on myself a lot, it’s important I weigh up options and reach a resolution and way forward. But surely most people at some point in their lives have had a situation where they are torn in two directions between instinct and level-headed logic? That decision between a ‘safe’ job or your dream job for example? Or between saving to pay the bills or jetting off on an exotic holiday somewhere? What about the time when a colleague / customer is being a prat and you need to decide how to deal with it? There’s no denying we all experience it and probably fairly frequently.

I had a bit of a conversation about this with somebody recently and her take on it was that it’s traditionally young, inexperienced people who go more with their heart and usually, the older more experienced will lean towards their logical head. Frankly I think that’s bull. I’ve seen the ‘wiser’ folk of this world use their instincts more times than I care to count but where I do think they have it right, is that perhaps they are more balanced. They have a 60/40 split heart and head. But I also think your inclination to go with one or t’other is also a fundamental part of what makes you, ‘you’. And to that end, it’s not something to try too hard to change. I also think perhaps we all need to do whatever helps us sleep at night…and for me, nine times out of ten it’s to go with my heart and have trust in that. 

So having mused away ‘til any readers have no doubt dropped away by the roadside, I’ll draw this to a close. But as with the two other blogs, I do feel from writing all of this down it helps me to process and learn. In keeping with that, here are my tips / thoughts / learnings:

1.      Don’t always let your heart kick the ass of your head – stick up for the underdog! There are times when the head has some fair points to make and it’s worth giving them due attention. Sometimes, perhaps it’s even possible to balance heart and head so that everyone’s a winner! At the end of the day, you’ll probably know which to follow to help you get those much needed ‘zzzzs’ at night…

2.      If you can, muse things over with a fellow ‘header’ and a fellow ‘hearter’ as they’ll be able to re-clarify your thinking on both sides. And by that I mean talk to people you know to be inclined to instinct and to logic…if you talk to too many ‘hearters’ and not balance it with ‘headers’ it may sway you unfairly one way. Sometimes just hearing both sides aloud helps to form a decision (and alas you can’t really voice your own heart or head advice unless you want to look like a crazy person Alice in Wonderland style!!)

3.      But most importantly…be you! Yes I know this becoming a regular feature within each blog but it’s so true. There aren’t a lot of people out there where what you see is truly what you get, so why not dare to be different and stay true with your natural style. I read an article once about leadership and getting the most from people and being authentic was rated the most important factor in being successful (and happy!). So if you’re a ‘hearter’ or a natural ‘header’ be proud of that and only tweak (and it really is tweak, not change) where it’s shown to be leading you consistently down completely wrong paths.

But as I’m writing this, I’m also starting to see that although my heart may not lead me to the best outcome short-term…it does tend to lead to very good outcomes long-term. To use my ‘asking out’ situation as an example…short-term it sucked that I didn’t get to go out for a drink with someone I liked and at the time it really stung to be rejected, but long-term (a few days later even!) and I can now forget about the whole thing and stop wondering ‘what if’. I can chalk it up to experience and focus on something else. So my conclusion at the end of this musing is that ideally a balance of heart and head is advisable but…if you really have to choose and the two are so counter to each other you can’t find a middle ground, I say go with the heart everytime – it may not seem like it but it WILL lead you to the right place eventually. How do I know this you might ask?? Well my feisty little heart told me so of course!


2 thoughts on “When the heart keeps on kicking the ass of the head…

  1. Dennis says:

    Alice I think it takes courage to share so openly! I started replying and it turned into an essay so I started again with more personal slant. Both ‘heart’ and ‘head’ are interdependent – I can’t avoid thinking of what may be felt by some a cliche ‘ying and yang’ in action. Emotions drive action. Spock doesn’t exist. Thinking can generate choice, but without feeling, the choices are without value. Emotions are vital, quick and impulsive, blunt or restrictive. As I write, I have a fear about how I am perceived others (e.g. are these musings pretentious?). I want to be valued, feel a need to conform, be accepted and liked. I decided to reply (contrary to this feeling) as what you wrote resonated and replying will help me make sense of my experience. I know everyone is different. At the same time, I’m struck by one of the learnings of the eminent psychologist – Carl Rogers who wrote ‘what is most personal is most general’. This has so much significance for me.

    The older I get and as my confidence grows, I am finding that i am becoming less restricted by what others think and I can dare more frequently to be authentically me! I am not sure how that relates to courage but think that foolishness and courage are a mix of intention and outcome. I’ve been in similar situations to what you have described not acted; with hindsight it was I was not courageous, more so foolish!

  2. Thanks Dennis – I’m really glad you decided to write a comment, despite the inevitable worry sometimes about what others may think. All I can say is ‘I hear ya!’. Before I took the decision to write a blog, I really did um and ah (again!!) about whether to make my feelings and thoughts so open to the world…I too wondered how it might be perceived. BUT then I thought hang on a second, my feelings / thoughts / musings / openess etc are exactly what make me ‘me’ and if people would judge me badly based on what they read (or indeed what they think they might read) then they obviously don’t know me at all. I like to think I’m as open in person as I am via blog…All I knew was that I had things to say and that hopefully by writing them it would a) help me to make sense of my own thoughts and b) maybe even inspire / help others who felt the same 🙂

    So I completely understand your thinking and I’m really glad you’ve shared! I love your quote by Rogers too…maybe one day I’ll use it in one of my posts 🙂 At the end of the day I truly believe that anyone worth having in your life will accept you and your musings / feelings for what they are – true, it makes some people uncomfortable to see openess and honesty but that’s their problem not yours! It’s taken a while for me to realise that, but now I have I’m loving it and I’m able to express it through writing – one of my biggest passions in life 🙂

    And FYI…you’re brill just as you are! Conform only when it suits you (not when it only suits others) and accept and like yourself by being true…do that and you won’t go far wrong I reckon 😉

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