Today, I want to answer what does it mean to be Open? A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being Honest. Like that post, today I have included a
personal appraisal and check list of things you might want to do if your self appraisal shows you areas for improvement. In a future post I’ll talk about what it means to be True. These topics together form the core of what it means to live a life that is honest, open and true and to use them as guiding principles to loving yourself.
The core of being open is being open to new ways of living, thinking or doing.
The Benefits of Being Open
Being open-minded means you:
- Willingly consider and even seek evidence that contradicts your beliefs.
- Do not limit yourself to evidence that reinforces or supports your current beliefs.
- Allow your thinking to be changed when you are presented with compelling new evidence.
- Make changes when your current ways of doing things are not working.
- Are capable of thinking for yourself.
- Consider various alternatives, and then take a stand, and act accordingly.
- Remain true to your values while allowing others to remain true to theirs.
The recent debate over the color of a dress showed how people can look at the same thing and see it very differently, and how they can be absolutely certain they are right, and yet be absolutely wrong. The explanation, in case you missed it, has as much to do with context, past experiences, and expectations, as it does with the science of vision and light.
Most of life is not so clear-cut as the colors of that dress. Most of the things that we spend our time thinking about, debating, holding fast to or trying to argue others out of, are not facts, but our opinions. Our opinions are based on our past experiences, our expectations, and the context. In other words, there is no one right answer.
More Benefits of Being Open-Minded
Here’s a little secret: It’s the variety of opinions and views that make life interesting, give rise to inventions, and give us a reason to get up each morning. If everything was known and could be expressed as unequivocal fact, what would be the point of conversation?
What would be the point of living?
When you are open-minded, life is more rewarding and satisfying.
Listening to new ideas may or may not change your own thinking. Ideas, no matter how foreign to your way of thinking, cause you no harm. Being exposed to different ideas, and the people who hold them, expands your horizons and allows you to explore hidden parts of yourself and to consider things you have previously shunned.
“Despite my firm convictions, I have been always
a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality
of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it.
I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary
to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with
every form of intelligent search for truth.”
~ Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Your Personal Appraisal
On a scale of 1 – 5, how do you rate yourself for these?
- Listening to what others have to say, without interruption.
- Being fully present when others are speaking, without distracting yourself or thinking about your own response.
- Striving to understand, rather than to correct or convert them to your own point of view.
- Accepting that it’s okay if they hold a different opinion
- Acknowledging the importance to others of their wants, beliefs and feelings.
For a personal view of what it means when you choose to embrace being Honest, Open and True, read this guest post from a couple of years ago written by Jennifer Alhasa. If you want to read more about this idea, “How Do You Live HOT?” is a good place to start.
Live Honest, Open and True
When you’re open, you give yourself permission to love others for their differences and their uniqueness. You experience love for yourself by acknowledging those parts of yourself that may be hidden from view. I believe in you and want the best for you and know you can achieve the best for yourself.
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Tweet: What Does it Mean to be Open? A blog post by D’Anne Hotchkiss
Are you uncomfortable when you’re around others who have different beliefs? Is it hard for you to show respect for them? Share your tips for keeping yourself open in a tweet to @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!