“I KNOW IT INTELLECTUALLY BUT …”
But? But your heart can't rise to such lofty thinking? Your gut's in a wad, like it just got punched, and won't let the message filter down?
I'm fascinated to watch people push the logical mind away from matters of the heart, as if head and heart don't speak the same language. In fact, they do. I want to invite you to bring them both to the table for parley. You're out of whack when you feel this divide, and it's important (and actually not that hard) to realign.
SAY THE WHOLE SENTENCE.
When someone bringing me active pain launches some “I know it in my head” sort of statement, I often hit the pause button and have them find what they're actually saying—and actually say it.
THERE'S NO PROBLEM WITH HEAD-HEART LAG.
So what that you know the truth but you're not feeling it yet? You'll get there. Feelings do come along later—have you noticed? Nobody says, “I know in my heart that it's okay she died peacefully in her sleep at 85, but my head just can't wrap around it.” You're right on schedule if your wounded feeling self is limping along (even dripping a bit of blood) behind the seemingly cold, antiseptic facts. Those facts could actually support your emotional self in its healing (I'll tell you how—read on). So really, truly: there's no problem.
YOU COULD MAKE IT A PROBLEM, THOUGH.
Don't use head-heart lag as an excuse not to budge. When coaching clients tell me, “I know it intellectually, but ...” they're often starting to argue for limitations or declare that they're stuck stuck stuck. Okay, so you see you're not fully aligned with the truth of your situation. Good to notice—actually useful to take in. But don't stop there. Having noticed, now move toward alignment.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T PUT YOUR HEART IN CHARGE HERE.
If the heart leads the head, you'll just get more out of whack. I'm not talking about distrusting the heart or making the head more important. In this specific case, when you know something to be true that the heart has not yet gotten behind, you'll just make trouble if you decide for the uncertain, hurting heart and disregard what you understand as true for you. Have you ever watched in horrid fascination while someone you love talked themself back into the bad relationship? Ay, bolstered by the beating bruise inside the chest, they listed reason after reason why this (perfectly normal, if harsh) pain meant they must hurry back to Way Wrong. What you watched them do was yank the mind into alignment with the heart.
Anyone can find or fabricate reasons those strong, compelling feelings must be telling the truth. The mind is adept at digging up evidence for any idea, true or false. (Remember your high-school self in speech class compiling proof for both sides of the debate?) But you're going the wrong direction if you try aligning head with heart, and this could mean a costly detour. Go the other way. How, again?
DO USE YOUR HEAD TO SOOTHE YOUR HEART.
Make soothing yourself a priority, especially when feelings are raw. If you put your head in charge, this doesn't mean you have to shove down feelings (bad idea!) or treat them like they don't matter in the face of sound logic (odious self-invalidation). Instead, you can actually use your capacity to reason to gently bring the heart along. (It actually wants to catch up.)
Tell your feeling self anything you can believe that's actually true. Let's say you made the short list of job candidates but didn't get the offer. Tell yourself: I was one of three seriously considered out of many. I got their attention. The interviews went swimmingly—I even had fun. I presented well. This is good news, not bad. My experience is solid—I feel great about my resume. It doesn't mean I'm not good enough if someone else was a better fit. That won't keep me from the right job for me. I even see why this wasn't the one (and name those reasons specifically). …
Do carry on. Keep using what you know intellectually to speak sweetly to the heart, and be sure you tell only the truth.
Here's a trick: Don't expect what the head comes up with to make the heart instantly stop hurting. You're just soothing the heart—not fixing it, not making it all better. You're being there for yourself, letting the wiser part of you help you scooch from wretched to bearable, and eventually to total healing. Allow the journey, and trust it. Trust your knowing. What you know intellectually can help your heart find its way to alignment.
TRY SAYING THIS
I know it intellectually and I'm holding my heart kindly while it catches up to the facts. I know I don't need to rush this, and I'll review what I know to be true often so I don't start telling myself lies or yanking my tender heart in the wrong direction. I trust my process and intend to make it as kind as I can.
Love & blessings, Jaya