One of the familiar songs from the Disney movie “Mulan” is entitled “Be True To Your Heart.” This notion of following your heart and “being true to yourself” is a dangerous yet common mindset in Western society!
How could Stevie Wonder and 98° (the performers of that song) be wrong? It sounds like a good plan to our hearts! We often dismiss scriptures like Jeremiah 17:9 and Matt 15:19, when the heart is labeled the source of some pretty awful thoughts and plans, because we feel that we are above that. As long as we know the heart can be deceptive, we are good to go, right?
We are all familiar with measuring our academic intelligence with IQ tests. But we might not be as familiar with Emotional Intelligence – EI.
According to my buddies at Wikipedia, Emotional Intelligence is
“the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”
The answer to the problem of being led by one’s own heart is not simply to tune out all feelings and rely solely on logic. (Insert a scene from Star Trek where the token Vulcan misunderstands a situation due the inability to account for the human emotional element).
Like anything else in life, we need a balance of emotion and logic. Our EI will help us to discern when to listen to emotions and when to put them in their place. Not all feelings are bad. Not all feelings are good and healthy either.
In my journey of trying to achieve a greater EI level, I have often times spoken out loud certain feelings and reactions I am prone to have, and then place them in the corresponding buckets of “there is something to this” and “wow, this is an overreaction and a silly thought!”
When our perspective on a situation is dictated by our feelings, and that perspective differs from truth, we have to let truth win, even when it is hard to emotionally connect with what that true perspective entails. But it does get easier with practice!
This applies to feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, feeling that you’ll never obtain what you desire, and many more. It also applies to thinking you are the best thing since pre-sliced cheese.
What are some things in your life that you can combat misleading feelings with a perspective rooted in truth? Seek Emotional Intelligence and place feelings in their proper labels so you can lead a more balanced and awesome life!