Recently, I decided to begin a quest toward becoming more open minded. I don’t think that I have been closed minded (some people may disagree with me on that), but some things happened in my life over the past few months that made me realize that becoming more open minded is a good thing.
What brought me to this realization? Well, a big part of it had to do with seeing how closed minded some of my friends are. Really it dawned on me that some of my friends were so closed minded that if you did not agree with their viewpoint, you were stupid, you were a bad person, or any number of other things. This simply is not reasonable. I mean, intelligent people can disagree on issues and that is not only healthy, but both people are still intelligent and have value.
The US Presidential election is coming up in a short time, as I write this article. It was mostly political posturing that brought me to my conclusion that I don’t want to be closed minded, like so many others are, but open myself up to other ideas, and more importantly, to accept others who’s opinions are different than mine. On some issues, my mind is made up, and most likely will not change, but I have no need to belittle those who have a different opinion than mine. Nor should I, in my opinion. Debate is healthy, and we need more of it.
However, when I look at the way that some of my friends online are acting, it turns me off so badly that I would never want to engage in a debate or even a discussion with them, because right from the get-go they have already defined those who do not agree with them as being stupid, worthless or even worse.
How does it help you win others to your side by belittling them? Frankly, it doesn’t.
Now, if somebody states their opinion in a wise, mature manner, and does not resort to calling names and such, that is when an intelligent conversation could lead to a meeting of the minds. It’s hard to know which side will convince the other in such a case, and it really does not mater, because if both parties have an open mind, they are willing to listen and evaluate what is being said.
Being open minded stretches way beyond politics, that is just the topic that brought the thought to my mind.
In recent years, I may have been less open minded than I am striving for, but I also was more reserved in blatantly pushing my views on others. I might quietly share my feelings, but not push too far. I am more interested in gaining friends and in sharing thoughts than I am in practically forcing others to accept my view. There was a day, though, when I was pretty strident in pushing my opinions. I think that such an attitude is more common when we are young and more opinionated. As we age (I am 50), we tend to mellow out a bit, become more accepting of the opinions of others, and not so eager to push our own thoughts as we were when we were younger.
So, in my opinion, being more open minded is a wise thing to do. It is healthy for us to be open minded. What do you think?