Real Life Lessons 2: Why “Listen to your heart” is not the best advice

You know how people keep telling you to listen to your heart? Do you find it helpful? Some times? All the time? Never?
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Here’s what comes to my mind when someone tells me to listen to my heart:

1. My heart has made some very stupid decisions in the past. VERY stupid.

2. My heart desires that super expensive dress that I can’t afford.

3. My heart keeps longing for that relationship that is no more.

4. My heart is very upset and wants me to punch you in the face.

5. My heart thinks if I wait long enough, Sherlock Holmes will come along for real. Just for me.

6. My heart wants to eat lots of bacon and fries. Right now.

Well, you know. The heart wants what the heart wants.

Teen on a Ledge

Her knuckles turned white as she held on to the handle for dear life. Her feet shuffled nervously on the ledge that kept her from the roaring ocean beneath her. Her thoughts ran wild as she pondered over what brought her there. I just wish they’d understand! she fumed. I cannot live like them! I am not like them! She shuddered as she thought of what happened last night. All the shouting and screaming. It was just too much for her to handle. Isn’t this supposed to be her own life? Isn’t she supposed to make her own decisions?

She looked around to see if someone was around. To care about what she was about to do. To at least try to make her stop. But all she saw were birds, flying about in circles over her head. Waiting for her to take the plunge. This is it, she thought in resolve. There was no stopping her now.

Slowly and carefully, she let go of the handle. Spreading her arms wide, she prepared herself to embrace the waters. She closed her eyes and stepped ahead, into the air. And down she went. It was faster than she’d imagined. Before she knew it, she’d hit the cold waters. If she knew how to swim, she’d forgotten it as the waves enveloped around her. She felt cold stinging sensation in her lungs. Nothing could stop her now. She’d done it. She’d given in.

This girl gave the 14 years of her life up because she couldn’t take the pressure anymore. Pressure to be like her parents. Pressure to score more marks. Pressure to do what they wanted her to do. She succumbed to all the pressure and finally gave in.

What can you, as parents, do differently for your teenagers?

Silent Screams

TV is on full volume. Speakers blaring with music. Phone ringing. People all around talking in loud volumes. She sat silently there. Her lips uttered no words. But her eyes screamed in pain. Her silent screams went unheard in a roomful of people. She sat frozen in her spot. Hope seemed bleak and all faith lost. Her heart beat faster than a racecar. Beads of sweat lined her face. Her hands trembled weakly. But not a word she said.

She looked for her mother. When spotted, her mother was surrounded by a group of people talking and she was laughing. She looked happy and so beautiful. Breathing out in disappointment, she sat still. She felt pain in places she didn’t know existed in her body. She didn’t know what happened. She wanted to run, to shout, and to cry out! But fright and fear held her back. Surrounded by her near and dear ones, she had never felt so exhausted with fear. 7 years old, she felt like the woman inside her tiny body was awakened before time. A woman trapped in a little girl’s body, she was terrified and alone. Darkness dawned on her as her weary eyes closed in exhausted sleep.