Follow Your Heart

Brian M Murray, IMH

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.”  - Blaise Pascal

Freedom! A famous scene and cry toward the end of the movie Braveheart when William Wallace is being stretched out and tortured for defiance of King Longshanks of England. Wallace would not adhere to the conditions or rules set upon him and Scotland. He would rather die than live a slave to a set of rules bathed in disgusting unethical practices and lies. Some men were willing to go along with the king taking bribes behind Wallace’s back based on fear of repercussions should Wallace fail in his revolution. Ultimately it worked for the king but not on the battlefield mano-a-mano. The king didn’t have anyone with enough heart and brawn on his side to take on a legion of angry Scotsmen. The king had to do it behind closed doors through trickery, politics and undermining Wallace’s support team. Does this sound familiar?

So how come Wallace was so determined and was willing to die over giving into the demands of the king? Yes, Wallace was avenging the unfounded death of his wife at the hands of the king’s men, but that was the tipping point for Wallace and not just the case in point. Wallace as a boy witnessed the king’s men kill his father and other villagers relentlessly time and time again. Wallace had a wise uncle who adopted and told a young Wallace that before he can use his heart and emotions to avenge injustice he must first learn to use his mind. 

While all of this makes for a great storyline in a movie, there are real life applications that apply. The wounds acquired during life can, and often do, re-emerge in other areas. Trauma and its companion anxiety are often triggered by current events. Suppressed anger can and often leads to feelings of depression. Wallace very easily could have stuffed his feelings down inside himself and became a very bitter defeated man.

Much of what is seen with Wallace can apply to everyday life. Following rules that other people want us to follow can be a frustrating experience, especially if they are bathed in deception. Anxiety and stress can result in trying to follow what is perceived as a “should do” or “must do” rule inflicted by others and the fear of the consequences for being non-compliant. This set of rules is often the result of a belief system of the way things “should” be and expects others to fall in line.

Freedom of the heart is about taking an objective look at what others are saying or doing and then deciding whether or not to accept it. Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about holding thoughts captive and obedient to Christ. Freedom involves not allowing others to have power over, or validation of, who we are as a person.

“Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it.” Malcolm Wallace to young William.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.


Brian Murray is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with The Lifeworks Group located in Winter Park Florida.

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