In a recent session, I asked J to provide me with a writing prompt. She assigned me another list. Lists are her speciality, if you didn’t know. This one was about gratitude. Why am I grateful for my positive qualities? How have they served me? My goal is to use this prompt as a new self-love challenge, by creating a post for as many of the reasons I listed in this post as possible.
Open minds. In the modern world, it seems like so many people cling hard and fast to their opinions. The amount of fighting I see in Facebook comments is evidence of that. We’re divided more often than we agree, and I think that’s partially because many people are unwilling to truly entertain ideas that oppose their own.
I have never had that problem. For a long time, it has been the opposite. To quote April Kepner, as I did in my original post, “I see eight sides of everything.” Toss me into a discussion on any controversial issue and what you’ll see me nodding along as each person introduces a new perspective.
Because to me, it all makes sense.
Yesterday, I wrote a post about my empathy and how it has made me a tolerant person. Today, as I’m considering why I’m grateful to be an open-minded individual, I’m realizing how much the two complement each other. Open-mindedness allows receptiveness to someone’s thoughts or ideas, while empathy instills the capacity to recognize the feelings. Thoughts and feelings.
They are like the salt and pepper set of a personality, a pair best recognizable when seen together.
So, like with my empathy, I am grateful for my open mind because it has made me a person who tries not to judge. Who accepts the variety of perspectives. In our political world, that’s a gift. I may not appreciate the attitude some people bring to political arguments, but I am usually interested in why they feel the way they do. Because honestly, with so many people in this world, there is always the potential they will teach me something I never considered.
Speaking of which, I am grateful for my open-mindedness because it is what pushed me to pursue higher education. I have always really loved to learn. If being a student paid well, I think I could continue doing it for life. I always felt there was more I could learn.
My open mind is probably part of the reason I excel in psychology. There are many different schools of psychology, and it is all constantly evolving. I would never have been able to survive in this field without an interest and an ability to tolerate the fact that there is no singular answer to life’s questions.
It’s another reason I’ll be a good psychologist too, because I have the motivation to keep learning about new professional developments in my field. I’m open to knowing what has changed.
I am grateful for my open-mindedness because it makes me forgiving. Conflict is not my favorite; I may have said a few (thousand) times that I’m bad at the fighting part of conflict because of all the associated emotions. But the after part, where you make up? I’m good at that. I don’t stay upset or angry very long because I know that they had a reason for whatever they did or felt.
Even when the feelings do persist, all I have to do is hear someone explain their intentions to me and my mind immediately latches onto it. Rationally, I’ll understand. I can hear and accept their viewpoint.
This has helped me survive living in my family, where my aunts and uncles are constantly arguing about their contentious views. If I were not open-minded, I might feel like I fit in better them, because they are very committed to their opinions, but I also think that I wouldn’t be able to accept our differences with the same level of calmness. It doesn’t phase me anymore and I don’t let myself get roped into it, I just watch with curiosity, wondering what I will learn.
Finally, I am grateful for my open-mindedness because it ignites the adventurer within me. I am usually game to try anything new. It excites me. You can imagine the traveler within has been itching to break free for years and see what there is to be discovered out in the world.
Whether it be an escape room, rock climbing, or going to a bar, my open-mindedness propels me into new experiences. It competes with the social anxiety that tries to stop me from going by reminding me of what I might gain from the experience. When I’m lucky, the open-mindedness wins.
I hope that it keeps winning. I hope it keeps me listening to others perspectives, aiming to learn, forgiving them for their mistakes, and getting out into the world.