A term that easily falls into place today is the idiom “It is something after her own heart.” It is something we say to indicate that someone has found contentment in something she has found, made, or received as a gift. It is not so much about a “thing” as it is an experience or a serendipity.
When parents discover that their child has been recipient of an award that recognizes a special gift, talent, predisposition, or value, it is an overwhelming joy. It may be said to be the kind of experience that is after their own heart that their child has been identified to hold these qualities.
The idiom is based upon the belief or acknowledgement that the heart is more than an organ pumping blood through the human body. It is the seat of emotion. The experiencing of love is “of the heart” and is, therefore, symbolized by the red, heart-shaped figure that is so familiar to us. One need not deny the science of the heart in order to subscribe to the idea that the heart symbolizes love and affection. It is a figure of speech that is not intended to be dissected literally.
If a man who was an athlete in his youth sees his child playing soccer with some proficiency, it is not inappropriate to say that she is “after his own heart.” Not only is she a loved child, but she demonstrates a quality that touches him and helps him identify that she is of his own blood.
When a young man, on his own after college, invites his parents to dinner at his first apartment, and demonstrates a state of comfort and expertise in the kitchen, a mother may express that he is “after my own heart.” The very fact that he is even interested in one of her beloved talents, and demonstrates his proficiency in culinary skills is something that brings warmth and a feeling of joy to “her heart.”
Contentment and joy are mixed with recognition of skill and preference. It is not something that was imposed or required. But it is a sign of relationship and respect.
On a more sensual level, a man may describe his fiancee to his parents as a woman “after my own heart.” She represents all that he had hoped and dreamed for. Her inclinations are in accord with his own. They “fit” together like pieces of a puzzle.
Talking about matters of the heart lends itself to idioms and figures of speech. It is hard to describe them in literal, calculated terms. That is why art forms, including music, are so often the vehicles of expressions of “the heart.”
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