What you see is what you feel




#83 My heart that works


It was just 1 of 100 items on actress Kate Walsh’s gratitude list for 2012. Turns out Kate is as hot on appreciation and passing forward as she is at playing Dr Addison Montgomery (Grey’s Anatomy) and Gina Hess (new Fargo TV series). Her other 99 posts were randomly understandable, but this one leapt out.




Aww, I thought. She’s had her heart bruised but is now back on an even keel. That’s nice! I hope it lasts.


We’ve all been there. I certainly know I have endured times when it was easier to switch off my heart than bear the pain. Block it with a bitter pill. Freeze the tears. Better to have loved and lost is the old maxim, but I bet we’ve all questioned the wisdom of that notion at one point or another. Dismissed it as a good theory trotted out by an artless maiden aunt who was basing her considered opinion entirely on hearsay. Well ha! I knew better.

Which is probably why I have revisited #83 on more occasions than I can recount, and have either wholeheartedly concurred with the sentiment while embracing one of those wonderful rare moments when the world is completely in sync; or thought No! Be careful what you wish for! Because we all know a hurting heart is the most painful ache of all. But then again, what if we could switch off our emotional hearts for good? Would I truly choose to be ‘heart dead’? No way. I’m a little in love with happiness.

Anyway. Last month I was happily winging my way home from a routine doctor’s appointment and an entirely new dollar suddenly dropped. My heart that works! Perhaps Kate was simply grateful for a heart that is pumping properly. No psychology involved at all – just fundamental physiology. She hadn’t specified. I was the one who had jumped to a conclusion by projecting my deep-rooted aversion to potential emotional pain onto an entirely unweighted comment.

Had I been a heart patient or had a loved one with serious heart issues or even lost a loved one to cardiovascular disease, I would no doubt have jumped to a totally different first assumption and agreed wholeheartedly that cardiac content was definitely worth a massive gratitude shout out. No dicky ticker? Thank your lucky stars! But as the hugely grateful owner of a heart that beats with regimental regularity – touch wood – this interpretation never once crossed my mind.

Does this render me narcissistic by nature? Guilty as charged if so, but I’m more inclined to cut myself some slack and put it down to human nature. We start with what is closest to our… um… hearts, right?

So in how many other situations do I, or you, draw assumptions that are quite simply based on the mirror image of the onlooker rather than on the reality or probability of the scenario in hand? How often do we draw ludicrously concrete conclusions simply because they looked blatantly clear at first knee-jerk?

Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but I suspect that assumption and conclusion are often in the eye of the beholder, too. What we see is what we feel. Hmmm. Time to give things a second thought.

But while the knock-on effect of this personal epiphany offers great potential for more self-insight and clarity, it also poses possible pitfalls as this new-found awareness leaves us wide open to over-analysing and agonising until we finally fuse and flatline in our bid to determine what’s what and what’s not, and what’s me and what’s thee. A way of life that is completely untenable in the long run. And, in my opinion, counter-productive even for the emotionally fainthearted because consistently trying to second guess ourselves would teach us to distrust our greatest forms of self-preservation – intuition and instinct. And let’s face it; it’s our personal experiences and the lessons learned in the school of hard knocks that make us who we are.


So, #83. I have no idea how you were intended, but this is what I’ve concluded:

Assumption is in the eye of the beholder and a quick second thought is probably a good idea in most cases. Perpetual analysis is not.
I was taking my healthy heart for granted, which is most definitely a bad idea in every case.

And by any given definition or assumption, I am very grateful for ‘my heart that works’.

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