Head and Heart

Excerpted from:
The Work Of Being Your Self
Navigating the Five Dynamic Dilemmas In Life

Whether we choose to play it safe or take a risk often gets negotiated through the second dynamic dilemma: head and heart. This is the classic conflict of reason or logic versus emotion or feeling. Sometimes, it is emotion spurring us on to take a risk or act rashly and reason that holds us back. At other times, it is reason urging us to act while our feelings put on the brakes.

Emotion animates our lives. Our feelings lift us to the heights of joy, take us on wild rides of passion, crash us into the depths of despair and hold us hostage to our fears and worries. They can mobilize our resources when excited and bolster our courage when frightened. Feelings keep us loyal to our loved ones even when that loyalty comes at the cost of our own lives and can also make us betray our partners when our passion leads us astray in life. 

Learning to quell emotion and use our reason is one of the primary tasks of maturation. We use reason to figure things out, to see beyond ourselves, to assess the consequences of actions, and to make conscious choices. Reason is cool, considerate, and objective. But it can also be stern and detached. Left unchecked, it can become a hypercritical tyrant that kills our love of life and turns us sour and cynical.

A second task of maturation is to create a working relationship between head and heart in order to soften our reason and harness our emotions. For many, the quelling of emotion leads to a life lived from the head, disconnected from the greater self and passion suppressed. We may need to swing the pendulum the other way in order to balance over dependence on one side. The journey from the head back to the heart has been the major task of my poetic work.

Ultimately, the “balance” of head and heart is an ongoing conversation that requires active collaboration on both parts and not a solution we achieve once and forever done. We need both emotion and reason to navigate our lives well. A life without emotion is an empty shell.  A life without reason is a random act.

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How do you decide which way to go
when the head and heart conflict?

Is it always best to go with one over the other?

How can these two functions complement each other?

© Nick LeForce
All Rights Reserved

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