Why "Follow Your Heart" Is The Worst Advice I Ever Received

“Just follow your heart!

You hear it all the time in romantic comedies and Disney films. I would often receive this piece of advice from friends and follow it. After all, it seemed like the easiest solution to any problem. Simply give the heart what it wants, right?

Wrong.

It worked for Cinderella, but I have found that it often does not work in a reality where animals do not talk and a fairy godmother cannot wave your conflict away with her magic wand.

Lauryn Hill once sang, “What you want might make you cry. What you need might pass you by if you don’t catch it.”

Time and time again I’ve learned that what I wanted wasn’t always best for me, whether it was a relationship, job, financial decision; etc. Making decisions based on fleeting emotions often resulted in fleeting happiness as well.

And by neglecting better decisions, I probably missed out on better boyfriends, better jobs, and even a better credit score. Divine opportunities are not like buses or trains, where if you miss one, another will be along shortly thereafter. Some don’t return.

The Bible says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool (Prov. 28:26).” It is speaking of our souls – the seat of our emotions. And when we follow it we are choosing what feels good or what feelscomfortable. Life truly begins outside the comfort zone and our hearts don’t steer us toward struggle and conflict. But as Oprah once said, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”

Think of any tough decision you’ve made that didn’t initially feel good but was better for you in the long run.

  • Going back to school (Working and going to school are the stuff nightmares are made of)
  • Walking away from a relationship that lost its meaning
  • Starting a fitness program

Staying with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend may have been what you wanted. But a relationship solely built on the comfort and safety of familiarity was not what you needed.

This isn’t about being heartless; it’s about loving yourself. The heart can often guilt you into making decisions that benefit others at the expense of your short and long term well-being. I know it’s tough when you’re dealing with the feelings of others. But you can’t let your heart blind you to the obvious. A little rationality can go a long way when it comes to matters of the heart. Evangelist and author Joyce Meyer once said, “When you learn to speak the truth in love, you’re free to say no.”

In most instances, deep down we have the solutions to the things that trouble us. However, we look for an easy pass when we accept a piece of advice that pretty much tells us “Do what you want,” rather than “Do what is best.”

So, no; I will not follow my heart. Because like parents looking out for their child, there are times where I have to eat my broccoli, rather than go for the chocolate cake.

—Tara Pook