Popular belief would say that wearing your heart on your sleeve is a bad thing and should be avoided, but as someone who’s always done it, I can tell you there’s a lot of beauty in being so brave. It takes a special person to face life and love while wearing all her emotions and feelings outside for others to see. Although it sometimes results in pain and hurt, I wouldn’t change my approach to love for the world. Here’s why:
I always want to see the best in others. For both better and worse, I look for the best in others. It helps me to give everyone a chance and opens me up to opportunities I may have otherwise missed if I had been close-minded. This unfortunately also means I find myself making excuses for a guy that my friends can clearly see is bad for me. I want to focus only on the kindness he shows me, while I shrug off the fact that he’s flirting with the waitress in front of me. While I certainly never want to play the fool, I also don’t want to write off a guy unfairly.
I cry, like, all the time. If I’m emotionally or physically intimate with someone, they can expect the waterworks. Opening up to another person is deeply personal. I’m letting down my walls and inviting them in to experience my feelings. I’ve learned to stop feeling ashamed of my tears, though; they are what make me a warrior. In my Buddhist lineage, we call this radical softness the “genuine heart of sadness.” Contrary to cultural belief, this well of raw feeling is where great strength and bravery is drawn from.
I’ve learned that other people’s responses are none of my business.There’s a reason people who wear their hearts on their sleeves are identified as such: we’re not the norm. We’re more intense and forward than your average person. Because of this, I have to expect that when I share my truth with someone, I’ll seldom hear what I want in response. If I tell someone I love them, sure, I’m hoping they’ll say it back, but I also know that I may be saying it sooner than they’re ready or they may not be feeling it at all. It’s a hard truth to swallow, but their response is none of my business.
When I have feelings for someone, they’re intense and I don’t hold back. I fall for people (or maybe the idea of them) so regularly that I hardly have time to breathe in between crushes. Though just because I’m romantically interested in people often, the feelings aren’t any less real. Actually, they’re usually always intense. If I’m interested in someone, it’s obvious. It can lead to me getting my heart broken, but it’s also exhilarating and makes me feel alive.
I’m a huge flirt. Wearing my heart on my sleeve doesn’t mean that I’m super psyched all of the time that I’m easy to read. Sometimes I just want to interact with someone without it being blatantly obvious how I’m feeling; flirting is no exception. I am a huge flirt, there’s no way around it! I’m very outgoing and if I’m enjoying an interaction with a cute person, you can read my feelings all over my body language and belly laughter.
I need to talk about my feelings (and yours) with clockwork regularity. It’s almost physically painful for me to hold my feelings inside. I can’t do it. So, when I’m in a relationship or dating someone, I need to discuss feelings. These conversations need to happen regularly. It’s sort of like taking vital signs. I like to do regular pulse checks to see how my partner is feeling and to communicate how I’m feeling. Sometimes these are only gentle assurances that everything is okay and we’re still happy to be together.
Sex is deeply meaningful for me. I disagree with the notion that sex is meaningless and just fun. For me, sex is a deeply spiritual experience, sharing energy between two humans. Wearing my heart on my sleeve means that I’m upfront with someone about how much sex means to me. I don’t do it lightly and if it happens with someone I don’t know well, I’m left emotionally drained and in pain. In my ideal world, I’d only give my body to someone who wants all of me: mind, body, and spirit.
I’ve experienced a lot of rejection but it’s made me stronger. I know some people think women shouldn’t be the pursuers, but I can’t help it. Part of wearing my heart on my sleeve is that when I’m interested in someone, I’m like a magnet gravitating towards them. I don’t feel comfortable at the end of the day if I haven’t listened to my feelings. Sometimes listening to my feelings means asking someone out or expressing interest. And often, this bold move is met with rejection. I’m learning to be okay with rejection as I put myself up to it over and over again. Love is worth the try!
I never really stop loving the people I’ve dated. I have so much love in my heart. Perhaps I can blame it on being an empath who feels everything deeply, but it seems once I’ve loved someone, it never fully goes away. I used to feel crippled by this love like I was chained to my past. But, now I feel that I just have an extraordinary amount of love in my heart and it’s okay that I hold some space for past lovers. There’s a whole lot more for those in my future.
I never give up hope. An aspect of wearing my heart on my sleeve is having a strange eternal optimism despite the range of emotions I feel about people and the world on any given day. I could spend much of my weekend devastated over a recent breakup, yet I’d still have moments throughout the days where I’d feel glimmers of hope that I’ll find connection again. Perhaps I’m a hopeless romantic or just a fool, but I wouldn’t trade my heart on my sleeve for anything.
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