Narrow or Open: Which -Mindedness Do You Choose?

People tend to be opinionated. We tend to think that the way we view things is the right way. Especially if the way we think about things is the only way we know. Open-mindedness is a skill that we learn through expanding our experiences and also through a willingness to learn new things.

We all perceive things differently based on our:

  • Past experiences
  • Childhood upbringing
  • Culture
  • Faith
  • Values
  • Current circumstances
  • Character traits, including genetic influences

Picture it as a filter that we all have that determines how we view things. Each of our filters were formed by the things above and two people rarely perceive things the exact same way. However, just because our perceptions differ, that doesn’t mean that one person’s view is right and another person’s perspective is wrong.

Friedrich Nietzche is quoted to have said, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”.

We all have beliefs based on all of the things I listed above. Our core values are also formed by those things. If someone was raised in a religious household, they are more than likely to maintain the same beliefs their parents held. If someone was raised in a household in which religion wasn’t spoken about and they didn’t attend church, the children are likely to maintain the same beliefs as they grow up. Does that mean one parent’s way of raising their children is right and the others’ is wrong? No. It’s just different.

As I said before, we are all opinionated people in one way or another. It is rare to find someone who isn’t extremely passionate about something and who thinks their beliefs are the right or only way. We tend to bash those who believe differently than we do because we think we’re right. Sometimes it’s out of fear, sometimes our pride gets in the way. Nevertheless, being narrow-minded and thinking that everyone should view things the same way we do is a recipe for frustration and anger. Whereas if we can open our minds and realize that everyone view things differently and no one view or belief is right or wrong, we are much more likely to remain happy and maintain a peaceful nature. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with the other person or compromise our own beliefs. I call it “agreeing to disagree”. I agree that their belief differs from mine and it (possibly) goes against my own core values. I agree that I have no control over what they believe and it’s not important for me to change their mind.

Really it’s all about letting go of control. The only person you can control is you. The only thoughts you can control are your thoughts. So, if you come across a person who has a belief that you are strongly against, you can debate with them but don’t attack them, don’t get frustrated because you can’t make them change their minds. Take it as a learning experience. Show interest in their difference of opinion and, if needed, agree to disagree.

Choose to remain peaceful and happy instead of frustrated and angry. After all, what’s more important? Your pride or your happiness?

Photo credit: Google Images

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