Should We Follow The Heart Or The Mind? Here Is The Difference

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It’s a constant battle between the mind and the heart. We are tempted to follow through with bad decisions and justify them through the heart even when it feels like our brains are yelling at us to stop. We give people chances even when our mind decides that they don’t deserve them. The heart often wins, but sometimes it shouldn’t.

Do you think your “self” is located in your heart or in your brain? Here is how to chose.

They Inform One Another

two hands grabbing unto cut out heart

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Emotions and thoughts are not separate entities. Instead, they are always intertwined in their expressions through a holistic brain. In fact, they constantly work together as a team to help us make sense of ourselves and the world around us.

However, both the mind and the heart each have their flaws. So maybe rather than ask if we should put one above the other, we should ask how we can bring out the best both and have one warn the other.

Where Is The Self?

woman resting her chin on her hands at a table

Ben White / Unsplash

Ben White / Unsplash

There is a bunch of research trying to find the answer to whether we locate our sense of self in the mind or in the heart. It seems as though it’s a question of whether we see ourselves as independent or interconnected with other people.

For example, those who live in places with a collectivist culture like India are more likely to find their sense of self in the heart. On the other hand, Americans who give a lot of value to independence might be more likely to locate their sense of self in the brain. Which one do you relate to more?

Memories Long For Taking Risks

woman hiding her face while laying in bed surrounded by photos

Ian Dooley / Unsplash

Ian Dooley / Unsplash

The funny thing about the heart is that even when it gets hurt, it wants to take the risk again. That’s because it remembers the things that made us feel. That’s how we feel alive. Even when that feeling was painful, it was often preceded by our most beautiful memories.

It seems like the memory isn’t affected by logic as much as we would like to think. Instead, it tips the brain over to impulsive decisions, or decisions that just make sense, hoping that those are the ones we will cherish and remember most.

Determine Your Current Emotional State

man looking down while standing in a hoodie

Andrew Neel / Unsplash

Andrew Neel / Unsplash

As tempting as it is to listen to the heart over the brain, you must be careful. When you think on your feet, your thoughts are more influenced by your emotional state. This is not the case when you’re thinking slow and able to taking the time to evaluate with logic.

For example, if you’re in a bad mood, you might miss out on an opportunity that would benefit you.

The Heart Can Be Damaging

woman resting her hand on her heart

Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

In the same way it works when you’re in a bad mood, if you’re in a good mood and need to make a risky decision, you might react impulsively and make the wrong decision based on your emotional state at that moment only, and regret it later

Basically, listening to your heart, especially if you’re under any kind of time pressure, can hurt you and have damaging consequences. That’s why it’s best to not make hasty decisions in the heat of the moment.

The Heart Speaks More Languages

woman holding string light in the shape of a heart and smiling

Bart Larue / Unsplash

Bart Larue / Unsplash

The benefit of the mind is that it is formed with years of experience and accumulated knowledge. Yet, knowledge is not the same as wisdom. Knowledge is based on facts while wisdom uses the heart to determine what to do with that knowledge.

The heart and the mind not only speak different languages, but the heart also speaks multiple languages. It’s able to interpret and evaluate numerous perspectives.

Find A Way To Blend Both

woman sipping on coffee mug at her desk with a journal

Good Faces / Unsplash

Good Faces / Unsplash

It turns out our sense of self is truly a blend of logic and emotion. Things are rarely ever black or white so both are needed to navigate the grey and make an informed decision. Use the wisdom of the heart combined with the knowledge of the mind so that your emotions don’t cloud your judgment.

Think of the heart as the king, with the mind as the king’s adviser. When making a difficult decision, the king might ask his advisers for advice or send him out into the world to gather information, but in the end, it’s the king that makes the final decision.

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Higher Perspectives Author

Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives