“KEEPING (AND SURVIVING) THE FAITH”

“Listen to your heart…”

“Follow your heart…”

“Follow your heart, but take your brain with you…”

Surely, we’ve heard these lines so many times already. The first one comes from a song. The second is often used in fairy tales, other stories in books and movies too.

The third? Like it or not, that line comes from a state of bitterness – the unpleasant after-taste of following your heart.

When it comes to keeping (and surviving) the faith, we’re not just talking about religion. We’re talking about big choices we make, every huge step that we take. Those things greatly change our lives, either for the better or worse.

So, how do you decide on what to do, where to go, and which step to take? From big decisions like choosing schools, getting jobs, and moving out to getting married and having kids…you name it. How do you do it?

1. By heart.

“Listen to your heart…”

“Follow your heart…”

If you are still in this state (or choose to stay this way), be ready to be called: ‘impulsive’, ‘naive’, ‘irrational’, ‘illogical’, or worse…just plain stupid and childish. Sounds harsh? Well, some people are just like that. Not much you or anyone else can do.

Of course, there might be some other people who think you’re brave, crazy, or even both: brave but crazy. Why? You have the tendency to risk your own life – and perhaps others – often without a second thought. Just dive in, feel how and where the river flows. See how it goes. Roll to wherever chaos may take you.

If that’s how you value your own life, you value others as much as the limitation stretches. Still, there’s no need nor obligation to like or even agree with this analysis. Perhaps you have different ideas, other points of view.

2. With (your) brain

“Follow your heart, but take your brain with you…”

Ahh, that familiar state of bitterness. Have we all been through that before, in any aspect or to some extend? Perhaps that has made us become realists. Better safe than sorry. We may have grown up as idealists, believing that our own good intentions and hope for the better are just…good enough. We may have failed to see that they aren’t and we’ve been mislead in the end. Disappointed, hurt, and even angry? Yeah. Worst of all, some people have accused you of not being careful enough or just being…painfully naive or plain stupid. Ouch. Yeah, some people are just that quick and easy to judge, even when they’ve never really been in your shoes. Perhaps you’ve been one of them too. Remember, you’re also human.

That’s why you keep telling yourself – and perhaps others – that. Why? You want to make sure that you won’t make the same mistakes again and hope that others (especially those you really care about) won’t end up like you. That’s actually a good thing, but please beware. Each of us don’t always share the exact same story. Who knows? Perhaps it’ll be different for them. Just hope for the best.

Another thing that you need to watch out is when you decide to go through extremes. You decide to stop listening to your heart and just rely solely on your brain. You become Mr.Spock in his early career. Over-value logic. You might become cold, too calculative, and almost…heartless. The more spontaneous version of you has somehow died within. The magic’s gone. Everything becomes too predictable and perfectly well-planned. You grow…tedious. You also lack appreciation towards those who still dare to dream and follow their hearts, because you think they’re childish and stupid, all with their heads up in the clouds.

3. With courage

Why? Even the smartest, most calculative and careful person can still make mistakes. (Well, even when some would rather die than admitting to that possibility.) Anything can still happen. Worst of all, other people can still criticise or judge you. They don’t always understand that nobody can know everything. They still assume that you must be stupid enough to land yourself in trouble, even from the most innocent choices that you make.

Oh, well. What can you say? Some people think they know everything and have the rights to make others feel bad. How do you deal with that.

Yeah, how do you keep (and survive) the faith through all that?

R.

Writer@work.

(Jakarta, 11/5/2016 – 11:00 pm)

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