When faced with a head vs heart decision, we find ourselves conflicted between what we feel and what we know.
Our intuition and our knowledge seem to oppose each other. We find ourselves unable to make a decision; we can’t simply disregard either perspective.
We value both of these perspectives because, on some level, we know that there is truth in each of them.
If we manage to reconcile these two perspectives, we can make a more informed and more effective choice than if we were to disregard either one.
Intuition vs Emotionality
Sometimes, we find ourselves emotionally inclined towards something that defies our better judgement.
This emotionality can have many sources; some constructive, and some destructive.
At its best, our intuition represents knowledge that lies just beneath the surface. When we get a funny feeling about someone or something, it is usually because we have observed something subconsciously.
It may be a discrepancy, a loophole, or something otherwise suspicious. It is something we know, yet can’t quite describe.
For instance, if we know intuitively that a certain choice could backfire, we will probably get an unsettling feeling. That makes intuition a useful tool, worth our consideration.
Our intuition is confounded when our emotions lead us astray. If we have conflicts of interest, or if our insecurities are at play, our intuition may mislead us.
Because of this, intuition alone is not a basis for a decision. Rather, intuition is a clue that prompts us to do more conscious investigation, so we can find the source of that funny feeling we have.
Knowledge vs Bias
This is how our knowledge can fill in the gaps left by our intuition. When our dilemma seems impossible to resolve, we can often satisfy our discomfort by finding the basis for our intuition.
If our intuition is caused by a conflict of interest or personal insecurity, further investigation will help us discredit it. This will lead our misplaced intuition to be replaced by a calm, secure sense of resolve.
If we really think about our choices, we can develop forethought, allowing us to anticipate and prepare for things that would have otherwise ambushed us. When we can predict the consequences of any particular decision, the choice often becomes clear.
The trouble with knowledge is our inability to know when it is incomplete. Too often, we only have half the story, even when we think we are fully informed. We may take action with full confidence of the turnout, only to find ourselves surprised and unprepared.
To make matters worse, our emotionality interferes with our knowledge, causing bias. Despite our good intentions, we may unknowingly seek out information that suits our emotions, rather than investigating impartially.
This is where our sense of intuition can help us resolve our uncertainty.
Head vs Heart
We can have the best of both worlds. Knowledge and intuition are not mutually exclusive; they are complementary.
We should strive to reconcile these two perspectives. If we choose only one, we ignore the insight that the other had to offer us. We make a less informed decision, leaving us flying blind.
On the other hand, if we can combine the insight from both our head and our heart, we see the bigger picture; we make better decisions with greater confidence.
But even with such a holistic perspective, it is true that knowledge is largely determined by our emotions. These emotional barriers can make it impossible to be certain of our own objectivity. When this is the case, we must borrow the impartiality of others.
Asking for help is a valuable tool that can help us break through this barrier. People who are not personally involved in our situation can offer us an unemotional, non-conflicted perspective.
This perspective can offer us a constructive sense of doubt when we are too certain of ourselves, and reinforce our confidence if our perspective is clear.
Nevertheless, their interpretation is limited by the information we give them, which itself is subject to our own interpretation. They are also biased by their loyalties and preconceptions.
We should therefore always be conscientious. There is no such thing as total certainty; hasty confidence should be viewed with skepticism.
The closest we can get to true certainty is a calm assuredness, based on an unemotional interpretation of what we know (including an awareness of what we do not know).
We can reach this point by using all the tools in our arsenal. Through this variety, we can gain insight about our dilemmas as they arise.
As we practice this investigation repeatedly, we begin to recognize patterns, both in the outcomes of our decisions and in our personal biases. Not only do we prosper from our own good decisions; we gain wisdom about ourselves and the world around us.
About the Author: The goal of Superspective is to provide a support system and to encourage introspection; when we use these tools to self-actualize, we can each contribute to the world in our own unique way. See more of what Superspective has to offer at superspective.org