Bless your heart, it’s a good thing!

April 11, 2018


“Bless your heart, darlin’!” Elinda Lou was so sweet when I told her of my ailment. Since we live in a fast-growing area of Alabama, it doesn’t surprise us anymore when we need to explain ourselves to friends who have moved here from far away, and this was no exception because Tina from Toronto was horrified and told us she thought “Bless your heart” meant something terrible.

I think someone who wears flip-flops to church weddings must have started the rumor that “bless your heart” was an insult. In rare cases, it may be true, but in most instances, it’s still a genuine, sweet, earnest plea for God to look down with favor and bless someone. Bless them up one side and down the other and all the way inside to their very heart.

Honestly, if you have recently relocated to the South, I’m here to tell you, when most of us say, “bless your heart,” we mean it in a good way. Those who have hidden meanings behind blessing a heart are either mean-to-the-bone or just reacting to being pushed to the limit by an insensitive person, which I’m sure you’d never be.

“I just can’t seem to keep weight on” said Tiphany Rae. “It’s so hard to find clothes that fit, seeing as how my legs are so long and my waist is so small.”  A sarcastic and sharp “bless your heart” was all the full-figured clerk, who was working a full shift after teaching middle school all day, could say. She immediately felt bad for not turning the other cheek and responding with kindness the way she was taught — but dang it, that whiny Tiphany Rae had stomped on her last nerve.

Chipping your tooth on peanut brittle, getting a hitch in your get-a-long, or having your mother-in-law visit for the third time in one month are all legitimate reasons to have your heart sincerely blessed. Backing into your husband’s car in the driveway is a definite heart-blessing worthy situation — not that I’d know anything about that.

Our region’s booming growth has caused our familiarity with one another to be stretched and newcomers may be suspicious of our blessings, but I swear with my hand on my pearls, when we recognize you to be a good person, we’ll embrace you and surprise you with new ways of showing love. Casseroles when you are sick and zucchini on your doorstep will come later, but the sincere, “bless your heart” is still the first strike of fondness used by the nicest of people.

So, newcomers, don’t be offended if we say, “bless your heart.” With time, and a little practice, you’ll be able to tell who really means it and who doesn’t. If the blessing you receive is the least bit snide, ask yourself if you’ve rambled on about how easy it is to drive in the snow or why, for the love of Pete you can’t get a good bagel/pizza/taco around here. If you’ve played nicely and the blessing still feels snippy, then I’d advise you to associate with a more civilized crowd. Life is too short to hang out with people who dole out insincere heart blessings.

  • Karen Chappell says:

    Prayers for you, your family and medical team along with a big ole sincere “ bless your heart, darling” as my mama would always say ?❤️

  • I want you to swear with your hand on your pearls that you will take care of yourself! Someone as young as you is sure to sail through this little bump in the cardiac road. I really, truly am sending blessings to you and your heart. Be well!

  • SANDY HILL says:

    I’m surrounding you, your family and your medical team with prayers and healing, Leslie Anne.
    Please rest up and take care of yourself so that you can keep us smiling!

  • You’re definitely too young to have heart surgery. Sending lots of prayers your way to bless your heart in every way. xxoo

    • Now, I wonder why you would think I’m young? Back at you, girl! thanks.

  • I certainly do pray God’s blessings for your health and a speedy recovery!! Heart issues are absolutely something to say grace over, and we will doing just that on your behalf.


  • I am not a southerner, but I find it almost inconceivable that someone as kind, as bright and as funny as you could have health problems. I do pray for Gods blessing on you, your family and all those who are included in your health care. Please know that your blog is an uplifting and entertaining blessing to your many readers. Take care.

    • Judy, you seem to be lovely and kind and I’m sure you fit in no matter where you go. Thank you so much for your sweet words!

  • Dear Leslie Anne, I’m glad you addressed the “bless your heart” issue. Only in the past 2-3 years did I read about this long-time Southern saying being “sarcastic.” Where I come from in North Carolina, it was always said with sympathy, understanding, and a sincere wish for Jesus’s blessing. Sometimes it may have been said about someone who was clueless as to a situation, and often a fond way of saying “I love her but bless her heart, she hasn’t got any sense of direction!” But we never said it to be ugly.

    As a born and bred Southerner, I’m aggravated when other people take over our sayings and assign new meanings to them, making us look or sound mean-spirited.

    Hugs and blessings that your little heart will soon be ticking as good as new 🙂


    • Thank you Rachel. This is exactly how I feel. I was shocked to actually see a vulgar meaning attached to it. I think people are just looking for a reason to be angry and mean these days, but I swanee, I’m not going to let them have, “bless your heart.” It’s ours!

  • Jean Kelley says:

    My prayers are with you and your beautiful family!

  • Blessing your heart and the rest of you, too!

  • I will be praying for you. You are really and truly to young for this.

  • With all sincerity, bless your heart for your upcoming procedure. Bless your surgeon’s hands and bless your husband who will help you through your speedy recovery. I will be adding you to my prayers. You are wayyyyyy too young to have to deal with this.

    • I truly appreciate each and every prayer. My husband especially needs a word. He’s not a natural nurse. This should be interesting!

  • Arlene Cocke says:

    Ms.Leslie, God bless you, and a speedy recovery!

  • Bless your heart Leslie Anne, and you are too young to have heart problems…I think it must be because you’ve lent your heart so many times to others ? I will be praying for your speedy and complete recovery!

  • Leslie Anne, I am praying that all of your heart issues will be resolved! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

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