There are certain actions and events in our lives that are governed by certain emotions. Fear can prevent us from taking certain risks; anger can lead us to doing something we may regret in the future; boredom can help us explore new horizons; love, passion and attraction can push us to do brave (or stupid) things. One of the most cliché advices people can give to one another is “follow your heart.” Generally speaking, the advice is absolutely great. You find something you like and you pursue it. What happens, though, if following your heart always relates to acting based on your feelings towards someone? How many times have you found yourself going an extra mile for someone? How many times have you taken the risk you would have never taken just to show someone you are strong and invincible? How many times did you have to pretend you are not afraid almost dying from fear inside? How many times have you done all those things just to impress someone you like? As I thought about this question, I realized that the majority of the choices I make are triggered by my feelings for certain people. I take the expression “follow your heart” a little too literally, as there is always a love interest, or a ‘choice of my heart’, involved in my decision-making. The general 'follow your heart' approach, as perceived by other people, has never really worked for me, as I would always get sidetracked by the public opinion and outside influences to the point where I would not know what is 'after my heart' and what is someone telling me what is better for me. The only exception where I've succeeded with going after my own heart and disregarding any outside influences has been when there a person associated with my decision. A little crush is always the biggest incentive. When I have a crush, I don’t think about regrets - if I think I should do something, whether it’s to impress someone or to show someone I’m brave even when I’m not, I make an effort to do it. Right or wrong, good or bad - I always opt to think about the consequences later.
So in my situation, following my heart would literally mean giving in to my heart, to my feelings, instead of using my mind and thinking rationally. Is it crazy? Maybe. But each one of such situations has actually lead me to something good, be it achieving a goal that I’ve set or learning something new about myself and about my life. A good example is me living in NYC. I moved to NYC because I got a job out of my college internship; I got that internship because I joined the risk management and insurance major; I joined that major generally because I had a crush on my professor. There's a revelation for you. Of course I had interest in the subject, otherwise no crush would make me want to do it, but having an emotional attachment is typically what truly motivates me and keeps me going. And there is a number of instances where if it were not for another person I would be simply sitting at home, watching YouTube videos and shopping online. Now the 'romantic' part of this equation usually does not work out, as I always fall for the wrong guys; however, it always brings me to a new experience. It may be through other people but these experiences help me find the real 'me'. So maybe for a few of us following our hearts is associated with falling in love, with going after our feelings. It may be wrong to depend on the others like that, even indirectly, even knowing nothing will come out of this emotional attachment; however, each such occurrence has helped me move on, be braver and be more determined and each of them has been helping me find the real me tiny piece by tiny piece. So don’t be afraid of what the others will think, this thinking will only prevent you from finding yourself. Be true to yourself and do follow your heart, regardless of how you view this expression.