Listening to your heart is not always easy, especially with all the “noise” that modern culture bombards us with. For me, it was especially hard to hear my heart, because in addition to the cacophony around me, it was quite loud inside my head, too. I not only spent an inordinate amount of time in there analyzing every action I took and every word that came out of my mouth, but there were also quite a few other voices in there vying for my attention. I even argued with them, reiterating my position, listening to my imaginary opponent’s counter argument, and then forming a counter argument to that counter argument. It was exhausting!

Not only that, when I was growing up, my father actually chastised me for letting my heart lead my head. As far as he was concerned, the only thing a heart was good for was pumping blood around your body. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but because raising a daughter didn’t come naturally to my dad, he decided he would just raise me as if I were a boy. As such, he was certain that allowing my emotions to rule my intellect would make me soft. (I feel you cringing…but this was the 70s.)

And that’s how I came to live most of my life in my head, listening to voices I didn’t need to be listening to and overthinking things that weren’t worthy of a lot of thought. So imagine my surprise when I realized that my head didn’t really know all that much and what I thought it knew was mostly wrong. It was time to start using my heart more and my head less.

That doesn’t mean that my heart-felt decisions always take me down the easiest path; in fact, though my heart has never led me astray, it has steered me down some painful ones: it told me to walk away from someone I loved who was not good for me; it told me to leave a well-paying job and start my own business; it told me to bring home the crazy pit bull running around the adoption pen like a tornado. All of these decisions—the heart-wrenching and scary parts notwithstanding—turned out to be the right ones for me in the end.

And my heart told me to give online dating one more go, even though I had kissed a lot of frogs and was certain there were no princes to be found. It’s a good thing I tuned in, too, because in listening to my heart, I met my husband—the most genuine and loving man I’ve ever known. He’s smart and funny, honest and kind. He’s my compass when I’m lost and my anchor when I feel adrift. He’s my partner in discovering that life is one big adventure, but only if you live it like one. Sure, the noise in my head can still distract me, but that’s ok, because the message that my heart now sends me could not be more loud or more clear: he IS my heart.