I spent a large portion of my life being closed-minded. I made my decision about something, someone, and stuck with it. Not only did I stick with it, I may have mocked or ridiculed.
We are all, to a larger or lesser degree, closed-minded. Seems to me that we are born that way, probably some kind of protective mechanism dating back to early man. Something along the lines of, “Grunt grunt grunt” (translation: “Don’t eat that red berry, Ug died after eating one”), “Grunt grunt grunt” (translation: “Yeah, but look at it, it looks sooooo scrummy, I gotta have it”) – cue death.
Something I tend to do is challenge long-held beliefs, to see if they are still that. I also reconcile altercations I may have, or have had, with individuals where possible. I do these things for my own good.
A small example of this was my fear of flying. I held on to the belief that it was a dangerous activity until not that long ago. It took effort and willingness to conquer that fear, but I was determined to because it was detrimental to my enjoyment of life. [My book covers in detail how I overcame this fear]
Of course, some of the beliefs people hold are much more damaging than the above example. Racism being the top trump – no pun intended. Indeed, it is something that needs to be challenged, not only by those directly affected, but also by those that are not. We may not feel like we are directly affected but, by not acting – or reacting – we are complicit in racist deeds.
This post isn’t about racism specifically, more a general broad brush stroke covering all tenets. If I catch myself thinking or acting a certain way, I try to take a moment to pause and reflect on this, to see if there is any justification; I am trying really hard to be a good person and to let my guard down. Like every human being ever, I have occasionally not been a good person. In some instances, I have been downright evil. Likewise, I built a fortress around myself refusing most people entry, through insecurity and a fear of rejection that started with parental abandonment at a young age and continued with being bullied.
Having come to terms with things, I willed myself into change. Evolution. In the same way that all of nature has evolved to its surroundings, we, too must also evolve. Our problem is, we have just a short lifespan to do this in, not centuries or millennia.
Next time your knee jerks a reaction, pause and think through it. Is it justified? Is it right? Is there another way? Could I be wrong? Am I wrong? How can I do this better? How can I be better?
I am not perfect and I never will be. I know this. This is what puts people off of doing most things – I’ll never be skinny so what’s the point in dieting / I’ll never have my dream job so anything will do – but they are missing the point. We may never be perfect (and sometimes we have to take one step backward to take two forward), but we can always be better versions of ourselves, so this is something I constantly strive toward. That can only start with an open mind.