Head versus Heart

I have a pretty good brain ; I did well at school, I have a good memory and I find it easy to learn most new things. But I rarely use my head in my decision making, I am much more lead by my heart. Yesterday I was asked to advise a good friend on a decision she had to make :

I told her that I was not the best person to ask as, I usually based my decision-making on what my heart tells me me to do, often at the expense of the ‘sensible’ option. When we were on holiday for instance, when we were still working and Joshua was at school, I would always buy the flexible ferry fare, so that we could extend our stay by an extra day, even though I knew that by traveling home on a Sunday, it would make the return to work/school the next day, painful. In my heart, the bonus day was always worth the pain and my rational brain, never won that particular battle.

I make up my mind about people pretty quickly too, when I first meet them. My mind might want longer to get to know somebody, but I am moved by emotions and gut-feel when I meet someone for the first time. It is my heart that decides if we will be friends or not. And then I am a loyal friend, so if my heart decides to let you in, then I will move heaven and earth to help or support my friends and I do not let go either, so I am still in touch with several school friends, even though I do not see them regularly.

I can remember telling Mum that our cocker spaniel was pregnant, when she was in hospital ,and she found the prospect of puppies in our house inconceivable, as we already had two dogs and fairly chaotic home lives with working and having Joshua too, so she described the situation as ‘Absolutely madness!’ . My mum was always much more sensible than I am; her sisters referred to her as ” Dear Clever Helen” due to her brain power and sensible, practical nature. But those puppies, who were born just 3 days before Mum died, were such a blessing and a golden distraction from one of the most painful times of my life; being able to cuddle these three bundles of love, when I needed comfort, made them fur -angels sent from heaven, for sure. We are currently debating whether or not to adopt a collie pup who has been offered to us: my head says that we already have three dogs so it is not a sensible choice or good timing for us. But my heart is pulling in the opposite direction, saying that we have space, time and love enough for a fourth dog. That tug of war will continue a while longer as the litter is only 5 weeks old now, so we have time to debate it further. But I know that if we see the litter, my head will lose the battle, immediately.

We have tried to be sensible when buying houses, but it tends to be the ‘feel’ of a new potential home that appeals to us. If our guts love a property, then we will follow it up with a sensible, rational rating system – awarding points for aspects of the property that we like. We did this with our holiday cottage, when we viewed 5 houses all on the same day. Our hearts knew which one we wanted, but we carried out this rating system – my husband’s idea – and when the wrong one came out on top, we then added a weighting system to ensure that our favourite emerged as the victor. My husband tends to be the more rational, but pessimistic, decision maker of our pair so we do complement each other in big decisions.

For major decisions, like whether or not to put Joshua through brain surgery , we needed both head and heart, it was too big a deal to be guided solely by heart. My gut feel told me that we should give brain surgery a chance, as the rewards, if Joshua had become seizure-free, were unbelievably enticing. But here, the heart could not be allowed to run away with itself and so we researched the process to death : I read all about it on the internet , we asked so many questions of the neurological consultant and I even spoke to other Mums of children who had undergone hemispherectomies in the past, to learn more about their experiences and outcomes. So in this case, my heart drove me to want to find out more, as I wanted more than anything to offer Joshua the potential to become seizure free. In this choice, I had my work cut out to convince my husband that it was the right thing to do, as his mind tends to catastrophize, but over the course of two years, I was able to show him my vision of life without epilepsy.

So as I said, I have a good brain, but it will almost always play second fiddle to my heart, so it turns out, I have a good heart too.

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