Knowing and Following Your Heart

Following Your Heart

Following your heart is generally wise. But it can get you into trouble. Big trouble, too, sometimes. Why? Because you can feel really strongly about someone or something and and be in the dark about all your motives. Moreover, you can set yourself up for a rude awakening. That’s especially true when you find out someone is definitely not of the character you first surmised.

The secret to following your heart safely is knowing it well, first. And to know your heart you have to delve into inner space that’s mostly unconscious. It can be really scary territory. You never know what you might find there. Still, it’s worth the effort. To know yourself – the good, bad, and the ugly – is the beginning of becoming both awakened and empowered. But you have to set all fear aside. And you have to be relentless in your pursuit. Most importantly, you have to be willing to honestly reckon with whatever you find.

Personal Authenticity

Most of us come to our encounters with others with a myriad of agendas. Often, those agendas aren’t fully conscious. Perhaps we’re seeking affirmation. Or, perhaps we want to lean, needing emotional support. Perhaps we’re seeking to advance ourselves. Many different interests drive us. And sometimes we’re not too comfortable with them. Maybe we feel some shame about them. Maybe, some guilt. So, we cast the encounter as something different, putting on a “face.” In so doing, we betray who we really are. We lose our authentic selves.

The most disturbed characters among us harbor many hidden agendas, too. But not in the same way I described above. They’re usually not so full of shame or guilt that their motives are kept from conscious awareness. They simply don’t have enough conscience for that. Rather, they know their motivations quite well. But they just want to keep you in the dark. Maybe their plan is to exploit you. Maybe they just want use you until they tire of you. Perhaps they truly like you but lack the capacity to be faithful to you. So, while they might put on a face, it’s strictly to deceive you. In a way, they’re inauthentic, too, but in a more deliberate, troubling way. (See: pp. 43-46 in In Sheep’s Clothing.)

Genuineness and Integrity

Personal integrity reaches its height in the absence of pretense. The truly decent character has thoroughly searched his/her heart. He/she knows it well, and strives to keep it pure. This takes a great deal of persistent mindfulness. (See also:  Self-Mastery Requires Mindfulness.) Integrity takes effort. You have to stay very awake (i.e. conscious). You have to know what’s going on inside of you. And you have to properly discern what’s pure and unitive and what isn’t. That way following your heart becomes a way of living that creates, unites, and energizes.

Sincerity of Heart and Purpose

We’ve been talking about the 10th “commandment” of sound character growth. The axiom is all about humble sincerity. (See also: Humility of Heart Leads to Sincerity.) And sincerity is all about personal authenticity. (See also:  Sincerity of Heart and Purpose.) But we can’t really be noble and right purpose unless our heart is in the right place. And simply being true to oneself isn’t enough. The most heartless predators are often quite true to their nature. And for our actions to be good, we have to be more than merely well-intended. So, how do we judge the sincerity and rightness of our purposes? We’ll be talking about that in the coming weeks.


I’ll have some announcements about the new Character Matters podcasts in just a few weeks. Remember, you can access any of the program archives on YouTube.


11 thoughts on “Knowing and Following Your Heart


    I loved this Film. I was a world hit back in 1986.
    Seeing the bigger picture, I wish I had. I was just 18yrs old.
    I am getting on so well.
    I pick up my new car 30th Aug 2019. It is very small. But it is all mine.
    You just got to tell the truth. Then you will see thing as they are. Then you can do something about it.

      1. Crocodile Dundee

        I loved the helicopter flying across the Northern Territory when the Film starts. Then music starts to play. Wonderful

    1. Joey,

      I am glad you are going to see your father, I know you have desired this in your heart all your life. I have been in a similar situation with family. I could go on about my mother and hadn’t been in touch with her for years or my father.

      Knowing you I feel in your heart you are looking for a connection with your father which will lead to a relationship. Joey you have grown over these years to become a strong confident man and you are not the same person in many ways since I first got to know you. You are still the same in your being, the Joey with a loving, caring and kind nature but you have grown and are still growing. Joey let your father see this Joey.

      Sometimes in order for there to be acceptance and healing we must be the peace makers, the one who reaches out and gives forgiveness. In hoping to initiate a relation it is wise to look at the here and now. Bringing up the past will only hinder or destroy the opportunity for healing and relationship to develop.

      Joey, I know your story and appreciate you sharing. Most of all I would like to see healing and relationship grow with your father if at all possible. Please remember your father may carry an immense amount of guilt and for many it is to painful to deal with and in order to continue their lives become hardened to the wrongs they have done in life.

      Joey advise from my own experience is not the time to bring up the past and is at all do not talk about the past and the mother. When you see your father greet him with a handshake and a welcoming one at that, if there is an opening give him a hug. Again, in your first meeting don’t go over the past it is what it is and if you do it will only alienate your father and build a wall between you.

      When one is looking for healing one must forgive above all things, talk about your success and not about the past. Ask your father about his life and how he is and let your father know you care for him and love him and would like to get to know him and develop a relationship. It might be very difficult to do as you may in the end receive rejection, just be prepared for that. On the other hand your offering of forgiveness may open the door to a potential loving relationship.

      Joey, it says in the Bible we are to be the peacemakers and the meek will inherit the earth… Be the peacemaker and your rewards will be great and I am praying this will be the case in your situation. It is in your hands Joey as you are the better person. There will come a time in the future that you may be able to talk with your father about the past, for now it is about opening that door to a relationship and forgiveness is healing.

      This visit should be strictly about Reconciliation and I know that is what you are looking for. To build this relationship from step one, Joey you need to be the strong one, I know how hard this is but it must come from you first. If your father is any kind of good man, your father will be impressed with your extension of good will.

      The relationship many not happen at once but this is a beginning. Tread softly and gently and in time that acceptance you are looking for may come to you. Let your father see all your wonderful qualities and be proud of you, realizing that you are his son, a son he can be proud of.

      Joey, your father no doubt may live with a lot of guilt and guilt is an ugly thing to live with. Joey just be you, the gentle, kind man you are and I am sure your father will be proud of you.

      I am praying all goes well for you and this will be a beginning of a lifelong relationship. The past is the past but you have a future to build on.

      God Bless your visit and a Big Hug of confidence in you…

      1. Joey,

        I would encourage you to reread Dr. Simons topic on:

        Humility of Heart Leads to Sincerity

        I think what Dr. Simon says in this Topic will help you in your meeting your father if you stay in integrity of this Topic as it will help your father to see and get to know the real you. I have faith in you to be the Joey I know.

        God Bless

  2. To All

    To me, your friendship is a gift,
    In finding you, I know I’m blessed,
    For that, you are my special friend,
    I promise you all,
    Till the end.



  3. Joey,

    Joey, I will share this with you and I hope this story of events will help you. I hadn’t seem my older son for four years and one day 4 years ago he came to my door to talk to me. I invited him in and we went and sat in the living room. He addressed me in a cold, distant matter of fact manner and said to me “I came here strictly on business, I want to buy one of your vehicles from you.” You see I have an extra truck in storage. I just sat there rather dumbfounded and sad. I didn’t feel rejected, I just felt sorry for him, I listened and I asked about my grandchildren and within 20 minutes he left. Before my son left I told him I loved him and left it at that.

    This past February my Sis I cared for died and my son went to the funeral which I was unable to attend, my son attended the funeral looking for me. In my housecoat and not feeling well at all I answered the door and there stood my son who I hadn’t seen in over 4 years.

    I invited my son to come in and sit down. This time my son was polite and respectful. This is the story he told me. My son had gone to the hospital due to excruciating pain. The doctors diagnosed a kidney stone and upon having an MRI a large cancerous mass was seen in his gall bladder. My son was told he had a rare type of cancer and several doctors around the US were consulted and the surgery filmed. The cancer was contained within his gall bladder which was completely removed.

    My son told me before having the surgery he locked himself in his bedroom for almost 3 days and told his wife and children no one was to disturb him until he came out. My son told me he literally got on his knees and humbled himself and prostrated himself asking God to heal him and prayed without ceasing. My son fasted and went without food or sleep during all this time. When my son finally came out of his room he said he felt God had answered him.

    The surgery went as scheduled and the gall bladder removed, my son has been cancer free since the surgery a year ago. My son was raised and graduated from a Christian school and went back to his faith, he goes to church religiously 3 times a week and his whole family is involved in the church.

    My son is a completely different person, more the son I always had known as he had found his way back to having God in his life. On my end table I had 3 Study Bibles I had bought for each of my children. I picked one up and gave it to my son and told him I had it sitting there for many years waiting to give it to him as I have never stopped praying for my children. In all this I never was rejecting or bitter or get angry, I just religiously prayed and knew one day God would answer my prayer. My job was to be kind and patient.

    This son may have had issues of character but all and all is a good man inside, he just fell away from his roots. Anyway, what I am saying here is my Son had his “Come to Jesus Moment.” Yesterday, my son came over to see how I was and ended up helping me with something that would had taken me an extreme amount of time and effort to do.

    Dr. Simon talks in prior topics about how you will know when someone has changed because you will see the contriteness, you will see the change of character and their priorities which will not be self based but that of being of service to our fellow mankind.

    Joey, I feel blessed, however this change did not happen overnight, it was over a period of years. Please don’t take me wrong in what I say next, it will probably be you who has to tear done the barrier, the wall, the time gap between you and your father. Its not about the past its about the future. Your father may not be capable of love or caring, some people don’t have it in them, if this is so, just pity him and let it go.

    I know the past is extremely painful and I know many things you have been through. I want so much for this door to open for you and for healing to begin. No matter how hard it is concentrate on being above all of them and be the peace maker. Let this be a new beginning, forgive and put the past behind, be the leader in patience and kindness, you may be surprised at what becomes of this. It may not happen on the first visit and I pray its the start.

    I will also say if there is nothing there, getting angry, screaming, yelling, etc., or any negativity from you will only tear down what you have worked so hard to build. Be a giant of positivity and a gentleman who is man and wise. You may not hear what you want to hear and if not you may have to be patient. If your father is capable of caring, it make take a little time as it was for me to wait patiently. Joey, it may be you who will be the one to ask, to say, I would like to have a relationship with you. Not an easy thing to do after all this time, to let ones guard down and be vulnerable. Rather it is a man of wisdom and integrity that can be the first one to lay down the gauntlets and say lets be friends and at peace.

    I have complete confidence in you Joey and please let all of us know how things go.
    Just know, there are many people on this blog who care very much for you.

    Hugs you Big Sis

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