Mindset is like a thermostat. Where your mind is set, like a thermostat. The setting holds the temperature—temperament, as in mindset—in place. Mindset settings have two basic ingredients: thoughts and feelings. Belief is formed from emotionalized thought that has an assigned meaning. Brain research shows that we are assigning the meaning to what happens to us; it is not objective, in general. Your perception of life is different from mine.

Mindset is not about the intellect alone. In fact, it is emotion/feelings that act as the glue that seals in a belief. Over the past week or so, I had a series of conversations or I’ve heard others talk about the heart and the importance of the role of the heart in guiding our choices. On a few of these occasions I heard, “The heart is always right, so I should/you should listen to your heart and how you feel.” Of course, I’ve also heard, “Ignore your feelings, leave them at home. Logic and the rational mind are all that matter”…as in forget the touchy-feely stuff. Both are extremes. Let me explain.

I’ve been thinking about this over the years, and as I’ve become more conscious of how to consciously engage my “Neo-cortex,” feelings, intuition, and “Still Small Voice,” which is the source of the Wise Heart, and at the same time retrain my brain’s perception about old cellular feelings, I’ve come to experience the difference between the “(Wise) Heart” and “Feelings.”

This is subtle but very important. After the 150th time of reacting to my feelings that said to do something, and then finding the choice to be less than stellar later, I slowed down enough to pay attention to something very important. There is a difference between “heart” that is intuitive and comes from a place of clarity, spirit, and knowing, and “feelings.”

To be clear, I’m making a distinction here between heart and feelings.

True, for some this knowing comes via feelings, for some it’s a thought, and for some it’s a mental image. The trick is to distinguish old subconscious feelings that cause you to stay stuck in a pattern and the deeper “heart” of our inner self.

If we don’t deal with old emotion and feelings from the past that come up to be changed and perceptually rewired, we can keep finding our self repeating self-sabotaging patterns. If we only go by feelings without waiting on the wisdom—the knowing of the heart—we can rush blindly into old stuck relationship, money, and poor health patterns.

We simply use logical justification to rationalize it. Sometimes this rationale is that we are following our heart as we continue to repeat old behaviors that no longer serve our highest potential. We become run only by our feelings.

For example, I had a conversation with a young woman I know very well who was a part of a threesome planning to be roommates. During the apartment-hunting adventure, it became clear that her chosen companions were inclined to drama: poor communication, controlling behavior, and lack of honesty. Yet, this woman told me she felt she should be loyal. Even though the red flags were there, her heart was feeling that she should keep her word, so she was feeling guilty and asked, “Isn’t the heart always right?”

Since I knew this young woman well, after listening to her I saw the pattern of the behavior of her companions to be virtually identical to several other relationships that she had in the past. They were relationships that she had discontinued because she wanted to honor her value of relationship harmony.

She had begun to have more success at healthier friendships. This was a new way of being for her. It was not yet a consistent pattern, however. So I asked, “If you slow down, be still, and listen, even right now, what does the still, small voice (my description of the heart) “know” about what you should do here?”

Long/short, her response was she knew at a deep level that she should kindly tell them that the situation was not good for her. And since they could not happily agree, she was going to honor her value of living in a space of harmony in her relationships. She made up her mind, followed through and, lo and behold, the very next day a situation materialized that exceeded her expectations: a long childhood friend called and asked her to be her roommate. This friend was already living in an apartment building that the young woman desired.

The point is that our feelings are sometimes reacting to old, familiar subconscious behavior patterns that we don’t know how to change. The heart is not just about feelings; the heart is an inner intuitive knowing. We come to know our heart by making time to reflect, go within, and understand our self better.

When we come a place that honors our values and purpose, a place of clarity, we can use our intellect to bring this wise-heart insight into our experience by, in this case, simply speaking up and taking action. Sometimes we need to use our intellect to just say no. We were given an intellectual and an intuitive mind—represented by the left-brain hemisphere and right hemisphere, respectively—for a reason.

The right-brain is representative of our heart and feelings. You just need to learn to discern the subtleties if the feeling is an old pattern that no longer serves you. When we partner the mind/intellect and heart, we can be most effective; though admittedly when we come from our heart knowing, we may have to override the intellect occasionally!

If you do, just make sure you are listening to the heart and not just being sentimental or succumbing to old feelings of guilt, should’s and have-to’s. If you don’t learn how to make these distinctions, your mindset is likely to be stuck with the intellectual, emotional, and feeling glue of old subconscious patterns.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com