July 14, 2015

When Your Heart and Mind Conflict

My heart has taken me to some pretty cool places. The career I am aspiring to reach, some of the closest friends I have, starting Taekwondo despite a large amount of fear, a huge part of my personality--this blog--all exist in my life because I've followed my heart. But, my heart has gotten me into some trouble, too. Actually, it's gotten me really hurt before when I followed it foolishly. During these times, I think that if I'd thought about things just a little more, I wouldn't have had to go through as much pain as I did.



Sometimes, it seems like what our hearts want is at war with what our brains are telling us. I personally experienced this while I was thinking about gay marriage as a Christian. My heart told me to love and accept regardless of gender and sexuality, but my mind told me that Scriptures says that homosexuality and perversion of sexuality are sins. In this case, I let the thoughts and feelings marinate for a good while until I could finally formulate my overall viewpoint on the topic (which can be seen on this post #shamelessplug).

When it comes to loving another person, however, it oftentimes may not be so easy because we don't have to worry about how it'll impact us--it will impact the other person as well. Also, love is really a gamble. It is connected with your identity, sense of well-being, and happiness... Risking parts of these elements that define you is no joke. When I have a crush, and I'm wondering what I should do about my feelings, wondering if he feels the same way about me, this is how I feel:

But with a lot more violent hooks to the face.
What are we to do when the heart and mind are conflicting? Whenever I experience this inner war, it is either because I feel like I should do something, but there are many reasons against doing it. Like for example, when I was in a previous relationship, there was something that my partner did that bothered me. I wanted to speak my mind about it so that it would stop hurting me, but at the same time I didn't want him to get upset about it, make it too big of a deal, or get into a fight about it. Are the risks worth it?

The best way to deal with conflict between the mind and heart is to find a common ground between both sides. This is a very simple concept, but it's not as easy to execute most times. Here are two things to remind yourself when your mind is fighting your heart:
  1. Ask yourself what your intentions are. Do you think that entering a relationship would be better for you and the other person? Well, hopefully it would benefit both! Does a problem between you and your partner affect you or him/her negatively so that you should talk about it? Be real with yourself and try to understand your own feelings before you try explaining them to another person.
  2. Ask for advice. Sometimes, we feel like we are going through things alone. Truth is, we're never alone. It might sound a little creepy at first, but in reality, this is the greatest comfort for human beings. You could always talk to someone who knows you well, or someone who is in a relationship that understands what you're going through--or you could go to the Bible. Learning your friends' perspectives on your situation will give you an unbiased opinion that'll help you weed through all your feelings. (Just don't be offended if they happen to be brutally honest!)
And finally, here are some tips for you should you decide to go for making a change:
  1. Don't be afraid of being vulnerable! We tend to want to avoid feeling stressed, anxious, or crazy. Actually, we really want to avoid being vulnerable. It is pretty scary putting yourself out there for something or someone, especially when we could potentially be hurt or rejected (or both). But you know what? When it comes to love, it is all about being vulnerable. I look at the purest, strongest, most beautiful form of love when I see Jesus on the cross. He died for me. He died because he wanted my sins to be washed away. He didn't expect me to dedicate my life to him. He didn't even expect me to believe in him. He gave up his dignity, freedom--his life--to save you. Without requiring anything. And he conquered death as a result. If God loves us like that, sinking down to the absolute lowest level and dying a scoundrel's death, we could sum up the courage to do this one thing for this one relationship. There is something beautiful in vulnerability, after all.
  2. Be gentle, but firm. So you've decided what you want and have summed up the courage to bring it up. Be firm in your intentions. You want to make a change for the better. So hold onto that! But, don't go in hot-headed, waving your fist and screaming "I'M RIGHT!!" Be able to calmly explain how you feel, and also be ready to listen to their thoughts.
  3. Be willing to compromise. I mean, this is a relationship we're talking about and not the United States Congress. Don't think of the situation as a war.
  4. If things don't go your way, it's okay. No need to beat yourself up if things don't go the way you intended them to. You can only try your best, and it wouldn't be right if you controlled the other person. So hold your head up high if you did your best!

Smile on.

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