Bless Your Heart, down South

Southern BelleIn considering the name for Bless Your Heart, I thought others might think of the tongue in cheek way southern women say “Bless your Heart”. A few advised me to choose something different. But, Bless Your Heart is about Blessings and the heart and besides, the phrase has been used in all parts of the world. I decided I would benefit from understanding how and why a southern woman claims this phrase. In searching the words, I came across a great article “What Bless your heart really means” by Jennifer Youngblood and Sandra Poole. I am reprinting a portion of this article as they have given permission to do so.

“1. “Bless your heart” is a form of empathy. It’s like giving someone a great, big hug. When a friend starts complaining about her rotten boss, her no count husband, and how the kids are driving her crazy, we just shake our heads and look her in the eye and give her a heartfelt “bless your heart.” It’s our way of saying “Honey, I’m so sorry. I know just how you feel, and I’m glad that today it’s you and not me.”

2. When your cousin Susie does something just plain dumb, and your aunt Margaret calls you up to tell you about it, you just listen real close and utter a few “bless her hearts” when she pauses long enough to draw in a breath. That way you’ll both know that even though Susie doesn’t have enough sense to blow up a pea, she’s still family after all, and we love her anyway.

3. In the South, we believe in being polite even if it kills us. So, when we just can’t fight the urge to say something nasty, we follow it up with a “bless her heart” just to make us feel better. “Look at that poor woman trying to jog around that track. Her rear-end is dragging a trail, bless her heart.”

4. Probably the most important way we use “bless your heart” is so we can identify each other. When I’m far from home and feeling all alone, I just throw out a few “bless your hearts” into the conversation and see what happens. If the person I’m talking to gets this confused look like I’ve just sprouted another head , then I just go on to the next person and do the same thing until finally I hear that familiar twang that’s sweeter than a melody and then come those beautiful words “Well, bless your heart.” That’s when I know I’m home– even though I’m a thousand miles away. “

At Bless Your Heart we come from the place of sending a blessing from an open heart and allowing it to do whatever is appropriate. We send the Blessing in kindness, not because the other person “doesn’t have enough sense to blow up a pea”. And we do this without judgment or expectation of our Southern sisters.

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