I have my own ideas about the definition of this phrase and it is based on describing many of my closest friends, and even myself as well. This is probably why we are so close.
It basically refers to people who put themselves out there. They expose their true self to those around them. They have a hard time pretending to be someone else. They struggle with hiding their feelings. They do not feel it is necessary in all situations.
If they are upset, it is evident. Even when they are not open about their disenchantment, it is clearly written all over their face. They don’t expect anyone to take it personal, because they wouldn’t if it were the other way around. They realize the world and the people in it does not revolve around them.
If they are happy, everyone knows it. They exude happiness and it rubs off on others. They love to spread the joy.
When something is on their mind, they speak up. When they need advice, they ask for it. Usually though, they just need to talk about it.
They do not like to burden others or bring anyone down, but discussion is therapeutic to them. This is why they are good listeners as well. They understand the concept behind this.
When they love, they do so with all their might. They are considerate; even to the point of failing to consider themselves and their own needs in certain situations.
They put others first and themselves, last. They are typically selfless people. They can adapt to having less for themselves if it benefits someone they love in some way.
They are generous, giving people. They would give you a bigger portion of food and deal with less, even if they are left hungry. They would use their last dime to drive over to comfort someone in a time of need.
They see that they are full in other ways. Having peace of mind that your belly is full is what satisfies them. This makes these type of people happy, even if they are still a little hungry.
They are comforted by the fact that they could be there for you in your time of need, even if there was nothing in it for them.
This is because they are loyal, true friends and companions. Among the best a person could ask for, if given the opportunity.
Sadly, these little sacrifices usually go unnoticed. At times, what once was a quality that was appreciated, is now expected. Sometimes, it is even taken advantage of.
People tend to forget to feel grateful for the considerate and selflessness of these actions, regardless of how big or small they are. Not everyone will reciprocate this type of treatment.
All of this is not surprising though. We live in a society that encourages individuality, and judgement has gone viral.
We are told to think of ourselves before others. We are told to do what makes us happy because if we are not happy, then how can we make anyone else happy. We are told to weed out those who seem negative and to only surround ourselves with those we feel are positive.
Think about that though. When someone who wears their heart (their emotions) on their sleeve asks you to lend your ear as they express something that has upset them, many will decide that this person is negative.
They will cut them out of their life completely. It sounds somewhat harsh and cruel if you ask me. That is, of course, if the other person meant no harm.
Some call them blunt, others call them cold-hearted. That is because they typically don’t sugar-coat anything. They are realist; They are raw, they call it how they see it and they never mean to offend. If you were to oppose they would listen and value your opinion as well.
They are open-minded. They are aware that others may have a different perspective or beliefs, and they embrace those differences, whether they agree or not. It usually does not change the way they treat you. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and thoughts. They understand that one persons feelings, opinions, or beliefs do not hold more value than another persons feelings, opinions, or beliefs.
What matters most to them is to keep their own self-image intact. They do not react out of spite or to prove a point, but they stand by their own values just as others do as well. They respect others rules, beliefs and values, but they will not subject themselves to partake in those if it makes them uncomfortable in any way.
An example of this: If one had a friend that was anti-gay marriage, would you invite a friend who you knew was pro-gay marriage to attend an anti-gay marriage rally? If you did invite that pro-gay friend to such an event, would you be upset that they declined? I doubt it, because you should have known better. Everyone is entitled to their own values, but you should never expect others to change their own values, even if you feel your values are better in some way.
You can respect and value another person and their values without having to sacrifice your own by conforming. The fact that you can still be a friend to someone with viewpoints or beliefs on the opposite spectrum is proof of this.
Being so mutable and accepting of the human race and all their flaws, difference of values, and being open-minded can create problems though, because others may expect them to conform. This is because they are so adaptable and accommodating. Boundaries can easily become crossed.
This type of person is told to be political about things. That is peculiar because aren’t politicians generally thought of in a negative light for being dishonest and selfish? That seems to be the consensus I have seen in regards to many politicians lately, yet that is not to say that all feel this way.
The bottom line is though, that sometimes the most misunderstood people are actually some of the most caring and kind people, if people would actually take the time to get to know them. And sometimes, those that seem to be the most wonderful people can actually turn out to be just the opposite deep down.
I feel like people avoid getting close to those who wear their heart on their sleeve because it makes them uncomfortable. No one likes to be put on the spot. People fear judgement, even if they judge others themselves. Many are more comfortable living an existence full of relationships that are only “surface relationships”. Many don’t care to have deeper, more meaningful relationships because it scares them. Exposing yourself can make you feel vulnerable, and most shy away from that.
What I want to say to those of you that do live life with your heart on your sleeve is, please don’t change. Do not let others put you down. Do not allow them to change who you are. Don’t allow them to take advantage of your adaptability and open-mindedness and definitely don’t allow anyone to take away from who you are in any way.
Please don’t allow the judgements or the decisions of others taint you in any negative way either. For example, if you feel someone is negative all the time because they are always coming to you with their problems, you are only tainting your own spirit with negativity by shunning this person instead of trying to help them by being there for them. As long as this person is not harming you in any way and has good intentions, they deserve your help. If you cannot help, they at least deserve an open ear.
It just seems to me, that it is very selfish to expect that everyone around you should be pleasant and in a great mood all the time. It is absurd to expect that the world should revolve around you as well. Realize that there are always going to be things that others don’t favor in you as well, yet they tolerate it and they treat you no differently.
I do believe that there is a time and place for such discussions. If you are having a bad day, particular social settings may not be favorable for sharing your feelings or expressing your anger over a particular issue or problem. It is always a good idea to be mindful of others in that aspect, even if you mean no harm. At times, you must learn that you must put on a pleasant face for others and that should not be considered being fake because you are doing it for those people.
You can pull someone aside individually if you really need to speak up or answer honestly that you just aren’t having the best day and state that you don’t mean to offend.
The point of all this is though, that you can wear your heart on your sleeve, if that’s who you are, but realize that not everyone will like the color of your shirt. It is a great quality to have, especially once you have learned to balance this quality and apply it with that knowledge. Although you may have a heart of gold, some will only pay attention to the color of the shirt you wore that day.