If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the heart is the forked highway to heaven and hell. Proverbs 4: 23 says “with the closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life”. As human beings with dynamic and sometimes unpredictable emotions, we are drawn into many damaging “relationships”. These relationships are sometimes with people, sometimes with things, and more often than not, they are ideas. Guarding your heart means avoiding unnatural attachment to these things. Attachment defined here is any feeling or sense of being drawn toward something that does not serve your purpose. Some things may vary depending on your purpose in life.
The first thing you need to do is have a purpose. This is the premise of Rick Warren‘s best selling book: The Purpose Driven Life. At least start with a goal. You can look at my post on goals for a quick guide on developing and writing down your goals. Without a purpose, it’s hard to line up your behavior.
The second thing is to be hyper aware of your emotions. Daniel Goleman’s land mark book on Emotional Intelligence discusses the importance of self awareness. I am suggested that we must not only be aware of how we are affectING the world around us, but how we are affectED but the world around us. You act different around different people. You have social norms with one group of friends than others. Why is it that you may drink and/or act contrary to who you really are (or who you want or think you are). This is because your are affected by those around you. Be aware of the people you are around. Guarding your heart by avoiding these environments or to the danger will provide value and offer you a level of integrity to your purpose you haven’t had in the past. Since complete avoidance is usually not the case for those of us in the real world, a state a hyper-vigilance is important. You can achieve this by knowing what your purpose and goals are and checking in on them regularly.
The third thing is to seek others who have the same purpose. If you emulate those around you in a negative way, then you are bound to do the same for those in a positive way. Find people who have achieved or are seeking to achieve similar success in personal development. Guard your heart of course from idealizing people and ideas. Take your time and understand that this is a slow process. The difference between the new you and the old you is that you are aware and are working toward being better rather than simply wandering in the wilderness.
The fourth thing is to know your weaknesses. This is similar to number two, but drills down to specific weaknesses and not necessarily just behaviors. Do you have a lustful heart toward people other than your spouse? Do you drink too much alcohol or take drugs? Are you suffering from depression and seeking validation through your actions? Do you wander off topic and find it hard to focus? Know your weaknesses and avoid occasions that can exploit those weakness.
Finally, know your strengths. Books such as the Toms Rath’s Strengthsfinder teach you how to find your strengths. The fact you are looking in the mirror and seeking your strengths puts you light years ahead of your peers. Know what makes your great and focus much more on those things.
What are you guarding your heart from?
- Strengthsfinder 2.0 written by Gallup Organization (jobcafeinc.wordpress.com)