My Heart Goes One Way, My Life Goes the Other
Everybody should listen to their heart. But to be honest, nobody can be completely consistent every hour of every day. We’re made up of contradictions, because we love and we hate at the same time, we’re brave but we also run away, we’re good but we also cause harm. But we deal with these contradictions as we build a way of being and living, more or less consistently.
For some people, it isn’t easy to build a foundation of consistency. They live like they don’t want to live. They work like they don’t want to work. They love like they don’t want to love. In these cases, there’s a strong dichotomy between how they feel in their hearts and what they actually do. It’s like they live a borrowed existence.
“My crown is in my heart, not on my head.”
There are many cases like these. People who don’t really love their partners, but maintain a relationship with them in spite of everything. People who work all day, desperately longing for it to be time to leave. People who choose a profession they hate. Or people who appear to always appreciate the people around them, when all they want is to see them disappear.
Of course, we all go through days or stages when we reject the way we’re living. Under some circumstances, we lose the desire to work, feel distanced from our partners, and get annoyed by our surroundings. But when you’re truly connected to life from the bottom of your heart, these experiences are fleeting and pass with relative ease.
When the heart is not connected to life
Of course, many people who don’t live life from the heart would blame some external factor. If they hate their job, but continue working there, they would argue that they have to do it, that the bills at the end of the month won’t wait, and that it would be difficult to get a new job. However, you won’t see them looking for a new job or making any sort of effort to be able to leave the job they hate so much.
This is even more common with romantic relationships. You probably know somebody who’s always complaining about their partner, and will continue to do so for years and years. If you tell them to leave that person, they say that they will one day, or that they can’t because of the kids, or their shared mortgage, or religious beliefs.
At this point, anybody would ask: If it’s impossible to overcome the situation, why don’t they find a way to adapt to it? And if it is possible to overcome it, why don’t they do everything it takes to end their supposed torment?
In these cases, the heart goes one way, and life goes the other. The person is suffering and feels trapped, but they can’t visualize a way to get out of the maze. Or they simply think “that’s life” and that they should accept it, or they think that they’re incapable of making a change. Ultimately, there’s an unconscious force at work that they aren’t aware of.
Almost all of us believe the reasons behind our actions are completely clear, but when we’re asked why we did what we did, we often give vague answers. In reality, the human mind is much more complex than that. It seems like there’s a lot we don’t know about ourselves, including the deepest, most authentic motives behind what we do.
Ever since we were born, we’ve been subject to the will of others. Our parents constructed a conscious meaning for our existence, but they also pushed their own unconscious expectations and desires onto our lives.
A depressed mother, for example, can convey the love she has to give, but also leave a certain gray cloud over everything that happens. A distant father can love in his own way, but can also become a ghost, always just out of reach, who the child would try to please and get closer to by getting good grades, or by being very reasonable, or by creating a problem out of everything.
If your heart goes one way and your life goes the other, it means there’s a contradiction between your conscious and unconscious desires. You’re probably living the way somebody else wants you to. That person is probably one of your parents or somebody who was important to you during childhood.
You want to please them, but deep down, you know that your actions are motivated by somebody else’s wishes. But something inside you is preventing you from rebelling and demanding a genuine life, tailored to your own desires. That something is the childhood fear of losing the love of those people that you continue to depend on unconsciously.
Inside all of us, there’s a vulnerable child who would do whatever it takes to cling onto the love, attention, and care of our parents. Some people learn to recognize the resources they have to live an individual life, free from those external influences.
Others, however, continue to hover around an unresolved unconscious conflict with one of their parents. They grow up, they study, they work, and they become doctors or even presidents. But they feel like they’re not themselves.