3 Essential Ways to Rock Your Heart on Your Sleeve!

We are all familiar with the saying, “Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.”  Usually, when someone gives this advice, he or she is trying to be helpful, guiding us to refrain from open display of our emotions. According to various resources, this idiom first appeared in Shakespeare’s play, Othello, written in 1604. Iago states that he will “wear [his] heart upon [his] sleeve” in order to appear open, honest and faithful. I tend to agree with Iago—and not just for the sake of appearance. I believe we should all strive to be our most open, honest and faithful selves.

There has never been a better time to wear your heart on your sleeve. Though there is a perception that putting it all out there might make us look like a hot mess, I’d like to propose a different perspective. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our hearts yearn to have their messages out in the open. Living with our hearts on our sleeves allows us to live our lives from a sacred place. When we are living our honest selves, it feels like love. This love that we experience in our own self-actualization, but what does it actually look like to wear your heart on your sleeve? It doesn’t have to be messy. Here are three essential ways that help you to achieve this goal:

Make Courage Your Statement Piece:

We get courage from the Latin root cor, which means heart. When we live with courage, we live with the strength to resist opposition, hardship and danger. Living with courage means that we have the ability to do something that we know is difficult or dangerous.

Slip Into Something A Little Uncomfortable

In Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, she delves deep in to the anatomy of shame and vulnerability. She helps us to understand that courage is born out of vulnerability. The willingness to be vulnerable is a key component of living from your heart. When we try to live our passion, the road is paved with “mines” of shame. It can paralyze us when we connect with the shame.  We often try to numb our desire to face the shame and to move through it. One the other side, we can work to achieve the dreams that we have in our hearts.

Things like endless browsing on the Internet or Facebook, glasses of wine, constant walks to the pantry for something salty or sweet are great ways for us to comfort away the feelings that might be trying to tell us something about our journey in life, rather than confronting them. When I find myself in the cupboard, fishing around for some coconut-covered cashews, I know that I am afraid of writing. That awareness snaps me back into finding time to open my notebook and get to work. What are the numbing activities in your life? Is it endless piles of laundry, email, Facebook?

We are all guilty of finding ways to avoid God’s calling. The key is to start with awareness. What is it that you fall back on each time you start to feel anxious? What is that one thing you are putting off that is a little scary but very exciting to you? When you figure it out, start thinking about the small steps you can take to get there. And, then take each step, one at a time. Go ahead—get a little out of comfort zone!

Dare To Go Bare

The next step is to find support. It’s essential to find a posse that you can trust with your goals, who can hold you up when you’re feeling vulnerable. Who are the people in your life with whom you can share your innermost thoughts? Who will respond with empathy or tough love, depending on what you need? Is it your sister, mother, best friend, clergy, a spouse? Cultivate a list of these people, whom you can go to for encouragement.

Find people in your life who will encourage, uplift, and listen to you. You may even consider hiring a personal coach or finding a mentor that is not in your immediate world. Remember that quote from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure? “But what? Everyone I know has a big ‘but…?’ C’mon Simone, let’s talk about your big ‘but’.”   Find someone like that—a trusted resource with whom you can talk about your big “but.”  Most importantly, avoid talking about your dreams with people who tend to tear you down—people who allow you to make your “but” look big. The right people are the ones who will listen to you and only give you advice on how to make your “but” smaller and easier to work around.

Courage, a little discomfort, and allowing yourself to bare your soul to trusted allies are just a few essential ways that help you connect and honor you as Divine creation that you were intended to be. So, go ahead! Rock your heart on your sleeve!

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