Your beliefs don’t have to define you, only if you let them. They express your understanding of the truth right now, and you have the choice to consider other
beliefs and opinions. You can choose to maintain your beliefs and to change your mind in the face of new information.
If, on the other hand, you equate your beliefs with the truth, then you’re more likely to feel anxious and frustrated with others who don’t share your convictions.
When that happens, it’s hard to be interested in listening to them. The need to speak is compelling, overwhelming, because you have the truth and the others are obviously wrong, since they disagree with you.
There’s not much room for open-mindedness when you’re certain that your beliefs are the only possible truth.
On the other hand, if you can maintain a distinction between your beliefs and the truth, it’s much easier to consider other points of view and to listen to what others have to say. When you can maintain the distinctions between who you are, what you believe, and what the truth is, you can open your mind.
Open-mindedness isn’t simply about being open to new ideas, but also about being mindful of the ideas that you do accept.
When you’re open-minded, you place importance on developing a better understanding of the world. You’re willing to listen to others beliefs and opinions and you’re willing to learn from their insights.
Keeping an open mind is difficult, and rewarding to practice. Working to understand someone’s point of view, especially when you disagree or don’t like the other person very much, is a challenge to most people. But trying to do it can keep you from feeling frustrated, angry or anxious.
Every time you open your mind to considering different angles, you expand your horizon, and give yourself the opportunity to discover new and exciting ideas.
Live Honest, Open and True
The next time you encounter someone who holds views you find hard to stomach, or that make your blood boil, take a step back and detach from what you’re hearing. Adopt an attitude of curiosity and willingness to learn, and see what a difference it makes.
Tweet: Your Beliefs Don’t Have to Define You, a blog post by D’Anne Hotchkiss.