Hello, my amazing readers!
Today we are diving into the heart… So be prepared to do some soul searching.
What exactly is a heart-to-heart, you may ask? According to the internet, it is a “candid, intimate, personal conversation.” If you ask me, it’s a chance for you to rip open your emotions with another person who cares for you. It’s also the opportunity for another person to reveal his or her own heart to you.
While some will consider this post to be cringeworthy or over the top, I’m certain some of you will read this and say to yourself, “Why haven’t I been doing this sooner?” Trust me, I was once critical of the infamous heart-to-heart. Not anymore!
So, let’s get into the heart of the matter, and go over three important takeaways of why you should have heart-to-hearts.
1. PROVIDES EMOTIONAL EXHALE
Humans are complex, emotional creatures. While some people act as if they have no emotions at all, everyone feels something deep in his or her core. These feelings translate into words like happiness, sadness, anger, etc., but when it comes down to it, the emotions we experience are sometimes impossible to put into words.
Emotions have never come super easy to me. As an INFP personality type, I am well aware of absorbing the emotions of others into my gut. When my family and friends hit a bump in the road, I am a sounding board. While I love to listen and help others as much as I can, my own emotional state is a little more reserved than most. While I can sympathize and empathize with others for ages, my own heart is kept hidden away. When people want to share their feelings in group settings, I’m typically uncomfortable, knowing that there is an expectation that I should open up too. But here’s the thing: I’m not going to open up to anyone unless I truly trust his or her motivations, even if I feel suffocated by the emotion inside my own head.
Something changed about two years ago, on one of my first trips in South America. At this point in time, I was adjusted to life abroad, and I had already formulated some of my greatest friendships. It was at this moment in time that my first true heart-to-heart occurred on an overnight bus trip from Buenos Aires to Córdoba. My best friend, Maggie Givenchy, and I were curled up in the very back of the dark bus, and we were crabbing about like normal. (We love to push each other’s buttons.) We were two twenty-year-olds abroad in a foreign country, and we had a lot to say to each other. Maggie was pursuing a relationship, and I was thinking about pursuing one myself (hahahahahahaha, thank goodness that did not happen). As a result, we were chatterboxes, and we both needed to get some things off our chests.
While Maggie’s memory of this moment may be drastically different than mine (my memory tends to fail me a lot), I will never forget the moment we looked at each other and agreed that we needed to start having heart-to-hearts more often. Maggie was giddy with excitement over her new relationship, and I needed clarity on a chico I was interested in. While the conversation began as an examination of our romantic statuses, it evolved into something else entirely: How were we enjoying life in a new country? Would we have done things differently if we could go back?
But the truth is: If we had kept these feelings and thoughts to ourselves, we would have lost out on being honest with ourselves–and to each other.
Emotional exhale is necessary for every human. We are all pumped with feelings of rage and joy and terror and anxiety, and true friends will want to know your true feelings. When we boil and simmer in our emotions, we tend to end up losing it in the end, and we can hurt the people we love most during these moments of emotional jeopardy. This is a fine line to walk on: We must be willing to open up, but only at the pace our souls desire.
2. STRENGTHENS RELATIONSHIPS
Maggie Givenchy and I are “redonk” individuals. (Redonk is a word I use to describe ridiculous behavior.) While we implemented our usage of “heart-to-hearts” extensively while abroad, we expanded upon this idea when we became roommates our junior year of college. Since we were stuck together every night, we wouldn’t go to bed until we had a Big Poppa Heart-to-Heart, also known as the Late Night Chat (LNC).
At this point, you’re probably like: Who is this girl? Well, hear me out.
At first LNCs/heart-to-hearts may be uncomfortable and weird, but I’m telling you, they will change your life. You’re probably not going to have some grand revelation that tells you to up and move to Jakarta for missions work through a heart-to-heart, but you may just. Talking things through is a huge aspect of self-improvement, but it is also the way in which our relationships grow.
Maggie and I were best friends before our LNCs; however, our friendship strengthened through our nightly conversations. There’s something about lying in the dark, telling your best friend the things on your heart, and listening to her advice (and vice versa). This is a chance for you to rehash your day, the things that are weighing you down, and the things that are lifting you up.
While I have always enjoyed falling asleep (it has always been one of my favorite parts of the day hehe), I always look forward to an LNC with Miss Givenchy. I know that I’m going to hear what’s really going on in her world, and not just the little things either.
You can try this too, and I promise it will change your perspective. It will challenge your perspective too, because you will question things, and sometimes you’re not going to get the answers you want. But that’s the point of diving into your psyche, and into the psyche of someone who means the world to you.
3. HONEST, OPEN COMMUNICATION IS MADE CLEAR
So, if the previous two points didn’t convince you, I’m going to suggest that this point will. Humans rely on relationships. While some individuals are wired to have a hundred friendships, others rely on a few deeply personal relationships. (While I would love to write more on this topic, we’re not going down that rabbit hole today.) But what is the common theme here, the string that ties everything together?
We need contact with others.
It is no secret that most communication is through the non-verbals (some experts say it is 93% of communication, actually, which is crazy). However, a heart-to-heart compiles both nonverbal and verbal cues. Emotion seeps through the skin, and it also plays a part in tone and word choice. A heart-to-heart requires honesty, and when we are honest with others, we’re actually being honest with ourselves too.
While heart-to-hearts are crucial to understand the friends who need our help, it is also a method of talking to ourselves. If you’re like me and harbor your emotions in the bay of your heart, you don’t open up much to yourself. You keep those feelings locked tight, even if you think about things all the time. But just because you’re thinking about things doesn’t really mean you’re thinking things through.
When I started having heart-to-hearts, I realized what I really wanted. I began to understand why I was acting certain ways and how I should proceed with caution in what I was doing. Nobody likes being in the spotlight unprepared–and especially not when you’re the one putting yourself in that position.
SO WHY HAVE HEART-TO-HEARTS?
When we open our hearts, we are at our rawest point. When we expose ourselves for who we really are, we are at our most vulnerable, and we learn the truth behind our actions, thoughts, and motives. In order to be happy, in order to figure things out, we must be willing to admit our shortcomings. It’s difficult, but it’s necessary, and a real friend will listen, give you advice, and share their situations with you.
However, it is crucial to speak like this when you are confused, hurt, or anxious. You may believe you do not have a person with whom you can talk, but I’m sure there is someone in your life who is willing to listen. I bet you that this person wants to talk to someone too, and this can be an opportunity to tighten your bond in the process.
Here is another consideration for you: You never really know what someone is going through until you ask them how they’re doing. Sometimes this person will say, “Oh, I’m fine; nothing’s going on.” But you may be surprised when the person looks you in the eye, and you’re taken aback, because you’re looking into the soul of a broken human being. This may not happen often, but when it does, you have to be ready to listen. You have to be willing to help another person. And if you don’t, shame on you.
We know when people care for us. They ask us questions, and want to get to know us better; they surprise us with little gifts, or words of affirmation; they smile at us, and our hearts about burst, because we know there is much more than meets the eye.
Do not be afraid to reach out. You never know when you’re making a difference–and you sure don’t know when you’re about to change the course of someone’s life forever.
THANK YOU, my wonderful readers. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. ❤