Ever have those days when you just have a billion and one things going on in that little head of yours?? Or those nights when turning on Friends in the background isn’t even enough to make your mind shut up and let you sleep? I recently had one of those nights, and as I was in my bout of overthinking, I started thinking about how much I overthink. And then I started to think about why I overthink so much, when I’ve always thought of myself as more of a feeler than a thinker. Now that’s a lot of thinking.
There’s the whole idea that people are either thinkers or feelers, and that this is based primarily on how we make decisions and interact with others. Thinkers are typically more logical, critical people who make decisions with their head, by analyzing situations impersonally. They are seen as being rational, and while they can still be quite emotional, they are generally more thick-skinned people. On the other hand, feelers are those who make decisions with their heart and are driven by emotion and personal values. They are empathetic and passionate, they dislike conflict, and have a hard time emotionally detaching themselves when making decisions.
I’ve always identified with being a feeler. I posses every single one of these traits. Highly emotional? Check. Over sensitive? Check. Caring too much about how others feel and absolutely LOATHING conflict and confrontation? Check and fricken CHECK. But what’s funny and confusing is that time and time again, I let my head get in the way when my heart is tryna do its thing. And I don’t just mean that I let my head give its two cents before I make it go away. I let it fully kick my heart out of the drivers seat and leave it on the side of the road to fend for itself.
I value listening to my heart. I think that our hearts know what we need and that it gets dangerous when we let our heads get in the way too much. In my opinion, letting our heads get in the way is the easiest way to stunt our growth and deprive ourselves of living the lives we dream of. So you can see my frustration when realizing how much I let myself do this very thing on a daily basis. Recently, my mom sent my sisters and I a quote that hit me hard because even though I couldn’t agree with it more, I know that I struggle with living by it.
“If your heart tells you something, who are you to argue? There is more wisdom in one beat of the human heart than in an entire think tank filled with brain matter.”
I’d like to say that I live by this, but when I really think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s more just that I think like this. But I don’t always live this way. In reality, I don’t follow my heart as much as I wish I did or as much as I know I should. For someone who leads with their heart and is quite honestly controlled entirely by their emotions, I sure let my head have a lot of say.
Whenever I’m faced with a somewhat large or important decision, I over-think the shit out of things. I go over every possible option or scenario, I make lists of pros and cons, and I draw out maps of what my life could look like with each option. I let my head fully take control, even when I know that my heart knows me better and that it knows what it wants. I over-complicate decisions and relationships and plans until my heart becomes so confused about what it even wants anymore.
I think that people are wired differently, and that some are better off making decisions based on carefully thought out processes, while others get where they’re going by listening to their heart and not letting themselves think too much. I’m learning that for years, I’ve been trying to make decisions like a thinker, when I’m more wired to make them as a feeler. Maybe this is because I envy those who can emotionally detach themselves from situations so that they can make more clear and logical decisions. Maybe it’s because I grew up having this idea that my life had to follow a certain structure, and this conditioned me to be too critical of the things I dreamed of.
But when I think about all of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, they’ve all been ones that I made with my heart. There have been too many decisions that my heart has wanted to make, but that my head told it not to. I’ve let logic get in the way, and it’s held me back every time. I’ve convinced myself that I was making the right decisions because they were what was easy and what I knew. I’ve convinced myself to put off experiences and changes because the “timing wasn’t right”. I’ve convinced myself that staying at a job I was no longer happy at was the smart thing to do because I was good at it and it was comfortable. I’ve convinced myself that my independence is the most important thing I have, rather than recognizing that it’s simply all that I know, and it’s affected my chance at another kind of happiness multiple times.
While I do think it’s important for everyone to use some combination of their head and their heart, we shouldn’t ignore the way that our brains are set up to make decisions. People who are happiest when they know they’ve thought out and planned their next steps should do just that, while remembering to still pay attention to the things that their heart is pulling them toward. And those who know that all of their best decisions have been those that were made by doing what their heart wanted should make more of those kind of decisions, while still recognizing when they should let their head give some input.
So here’s to the critical thinkers and the emotional feelers, and everyone who’s stuck in between. And to the over-thinkers and the over-complicators and the up-all-night-thinking-about-things-that-they-can’t-even-change-or-that-won’t-even-matter-a-year-from-now-ers. May we all learn to make more decisions that make us happier. And for those of you who are like me, may we all learn to stop being so complicated and just do whatever the f we want.
With love and lattes,