Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve; it gets rubbed off too easily there.
Since it is St. Valentine’s Day I thought it appropriate to write a blog about hearts and this saying which warns not to wear your heart on your sleeve is an oldie. To wear your heart on your sleeve means to openly and in public show love and affection; perhaps in an over the top manner and the idea that your heart can be easily rubbed off if shown too openly would suggest a love that is showy and shallow.
The origins of the saying are found in Shakespeare’s play, Othello, where Iago says that to openly show his feelings would be like wearing his heart on his sleeve and this would make him vulnerable. (Othello, Act 1, Scene 1, 56–65.) I suspect the saying has filtered down through that old British stiff upper lip tradition where to show one’s feelings can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
While I do not advocate great displays of public affection simply for show and I know that the deepest loves are private and personal, it is a sad situation if we are unable to show the people we love what is in our heart. To love is a risky business; being vulnerable comes with the territory, but how much richer life is when we take the risk. As another old saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
The people we love need to know it, they need to hear it, they need to see it in our actions. Be brave, show that heart; wear it on your sleeve! Life is short and when it is over, that the people you love, know with all assurity, that you loved them is the best legacy.