Photo credit: Jessica Ruscello, Unsplash.com
If you tend to live in your head, but want to integrate Head and Heart, the first step is to dare to speak from the Heart…
What does it mean to “speak from the heart”?
It basically means that your head doesn’t necessarily know ahead of time what your heart’s going to say.
Early on, the sentences that came out of my mouth when asked why I was leaving the safety of academia for the uncertainty of coaching and entrepreneurship, were things like:
“It’s just very close to my heart.” Or “I love people, what can I say?”
As I let these phrases come out, to my head’s surprise, I realized one simple truth: there is no arguing with the heart. These phrases were conversation turners and I saw beauty in a way I never expected.
The first time I dared to intentionally speak from the heart, I was nervous and inventing all kinds of stories to hide behind the night before. My head was on high alert: this is risky, heart, would you please… shut the f&*$ up?!
It was as if my heart was waking up from a 100-year slumber. Some stiffness was to be expected. With the help of my friends and coaches, I found compassion for my then seemingly fragile heart.
In all compassion, at some point, it was decision time. I decided to be authentic, true to what I loved, and to forget the rest.
I personally got some help from the Universe on the morning of my first intentional attempt to speak from the heart.
First, I found a rose quartz heart I had bought to get over a free shipping threshold, but didn’t know what to do with it at the time. It was like a gift from heaven (and I actually carry it around to this day). It was the perfect reminder that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to do.
Later, in the car, I decided to listen to a Lovingkindness Meditation (by Sharon Salzberg on the Insight Timer app). Traffic was unusually bad, so I got the chance to listen to the whole thing.
When I got to my meeting, I was peaceful despite being eight minutes late. And throughout the conversation, the heartfelt sentences just emerged, and I got to know my chosen “conversation partner” for real that day.
I felt like (apologies for the Frozen reference but…) “for the first time in forever, nothing’s in my way…”
After that, every opportunity I saw to stretch my comfort zone just a tad bit further strengthened my heart one conversation at a time. Rose quartz heart in hand, I practiced, practiced, practiced. What I spoke about changed over time. The important thing was that I spoke about what I loved in every moment.
Fast forward ten months and you’ll find me at an Economics conference – talk about a head-heavy environment – happily speaking from the heart.
One colleague, after complimenting me for my courage to follow my inspiration and change careers, had asked: “But you’re not gonna do all that New Age crap, are you?”
I looked at him with a smile. A year earlier, I would have said: “No, no, no, it’s more like this and that,” basically dancing around my heart’s truth. Not anymore. “Well,” I said, “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘New Age crap’. But if you mean believing that ‘Love is the most important thing’ then I’m sorry to say that’s what I do!”
Again, there is no arguing with the heart.
Balancing persistence and patience, I had developed the reflex to check in with my heart before blurting out excuses. I call it my “No Bullsh*t Policy” – one of the most liberating things I have ever developed in my life.
And so, here are my seven tips for daring vulnerability:
1. Get some clarity on what it is that you love.
Maybe, look at it like this. Suppose love is the only true emotion. Every other emotion is in relation to love. Fear bubbles up in anticipation of losing something you love, anger sets in when you’re fighting for something you love, and sadness hits you when you don’t have or have lost something you love. Every time you have any of these emotions, look at what it is that you love. Speak about that as you get going.
2. Be compassionate with yourself.
If you’ve been living in your head, suppressing emotions for a long time, it is normal to feel resistance – be gentle with that precious awakening heart.
3. Be intentional about speaking from the heart.
No matter what objections your head comes up with, stick to your guns – well, more like the opposite: your heart.
4. Look out for items that may support that intention.
What might support your intention? Is it something tangible, such as a concealable and meaningful object (e.g. a picture, a stone, a bracelet)? Is it something audible, such as a song or playlist or a guided meditation? Accept the help.
5. Choose your conversation partners wisely.
You are looking for an opportunity with just a tad bit of stretch outside your comfort zone every step of the way.
6. Trust that we are all human and all have a heart.
How bad can it be? We are all human beings after all, right? You’ll be surprised how refreshing it is to people in a head-heavy environment to hear truly heartfelt statements. With arguing out of the way, these statements open pathways you may have never imagined. Trust that.
7. Be persistent, yet patient.
It’s a delicate balance, compassion versus intention, patience versus persistence, but I know you’ll figure it out.
Ultimately, your head fully trusts your heart. Head and heart are on equal footing and integrated through mutual respect. Talk about a leap towards LIP — Living in Peace — rather than waiting to safely RIP.