Essay On Open Mind
Being open-minded can be really tough sometimes. Most of us are brought up with a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs. Therefore, it can be difficult when we're faced with ideas that challenge our own and, though we may wish to be open-minded, we may struggle with the act of it from time to time.
I'd like to say I'm a fairly open-minded person, but, like most people, I do have some pretty strong views about specific topics and find it hard to sway from those opinions -- no matter how others might try to persuade me. Of course, I fully believe that having strong beliefs can be a wonderful thing and I believe we should all stay true to what we believe in, but having strong beliefs doesn't have to mean having a closed mind.
Though it can be tough to do sometimes, I've always found that when I open my mind, I've reaped a lot of rewarding benefits. There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in. Here are just a few of the benefits I've uncovered when I've taken the time to view the world around me with an open mind...
The 7 Benefits of Being Open-Minded
Letting go of control. When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be in complete control of your thoughts. You allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have. It can be very liberating to look at the world through an open mind.
Experiencing changes. Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you to the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world. Now, this doesn't mean you necessarily will change your beliefs, but you have the option to when you think with an open mind.
Making yourself vulnerable. One of the scariest (and greatest) things about seeing the world through an open mind is making yourself vulnerable. In agreeing to have an open-minded view of the world, you're admitting you don't know everything and that there are possibilities you may not have considered. This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating.
Making mistakes. Making mistakes doesn't seem like it would be much of a benefit, but it truly is. When you open your mind and allow yourself to see things from others' perspectives, you allow yourself not only to recognize potential mistakes you've made, but also to make new mistakes. Doesn't sound like much fun, but it's a great thing to fall and get back up again.
Strengthening yourself. Open-mindedness provides a platform on which you can build, piling one idea on top of another. With an open mind you can learn about new things and you can use the new ideas to build on the old ideas. Everything you experience can add up, strengthening who you are and what you believe in. It's very hard to build on experiences without an open mind.
Gaining confidence. When you live with an open mind, you have a strong sense of self. You are not confined by your own beliefs, nor are you confined by the beliefs of others. For that reason, you are able to have and gain confidence as you learn more and more about the world around you. Open-mindedness helps you to learn and grow, strengthening your belief in yourself.
Being honest. There is an honesty that comes with an open mind because being open-minded means admitting that you aren't all-knowing. It means believing that whatever truth you find might always have more to it than you realize. This understanding creates an underlying sense of honesty that permeates the character of anyone who lives with an open mind.
For some, being open-minded is easy; it comes as effortlessly as breathing. For others, having an open mind can be more of a challenge, something that they have to work on and make an effort to obtain. Whether or not you consider yourself to be open-minded, you can certainly see from the list above that there are great benefits to viewing life with an open mind. It's not always an easy thing to do (believe me, most people struggle with this), but the effort to think openly and embrace new ideas will be worth it when you're able to take part in the benefits that come from opening your mind.
Do you strive to be open-minded?
What additional benefits have you found from
opening your mind to new ideas?
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The pain of non-conformity
Sometimes the price of an open mind may be alienation from one’s own group, family and times. The Grimke sisters certainly found this to be true as their leaving the local church and then Charleston were viewed as terrible embarrassments to their family. When they returned for visits wearing simple Quaker garb, they were ridiculed. But those who pushed the abolitionist cause were subject to far more violent and dangerous harassment, as it was not unusual for their meetings to be broken up by angry mobs in Northern cities. If an
open mind leads one to challenge conventional thinking, the order of the day, or what passes for patriotism at a given time in history, > the consequences can be quite painful. At the same time, to deny these differences can lead to a different kind of pain, as Henry Miller suggests:
Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind.
This quotation reminded me of Arthur Miller’s work, The Crucible, a play that explores the pressures and moral dilemmas experienced by the good people of Salem when many citizens were accused of witchcraft and their neighbors began to question the feeding frenzy that led to nineteen hangings and quite a few more deaths. As Miller’s play makes evident, it was dangerous to challenge the wisdom of the crowd, the justice of the judges, or the Christianity of the ministers. First performed in 1953, Miller’s play was an allegorical reference to the McCarthy hearings of that time—witch trials of a different flavor.
In 2010, mass hysteria and fear of Islam in the U.S.A. led to local protests against the building of new mosques, as the New York Times reported on June 10, “Opposition to new mosques has become almost commonplace” in the article “Heated Opposition to a Proposed Mosque.”
In a nation established, in part, to protect the freedom of religion, some citizens are quick to limit the extension of such rights to those of other religions—drawing a connection between terrorism and Islam that is extremely tenuous.