For the last few years, open-mindedness has become all the rage, “hype”, fashionable, and something everyone wants to be – or at least appear to be. All over social media, people are presenting themselves as accepting, open to everyone + everything.
I’ve met so many people claiming to be open-minded. It’s a quality we all aspire to have. But on touchy topics, like political conflicts, veganism, or even art, a few of us are actually willing to listen to people with opposing views and opinions.
When I realized that, I asked myself : am I really open-minded ? I started to think about it, and to question what “open-mindedness” really is.
I went to google and searched for the official definition :
“Willing to consider ideas or opinions that are new or different to your own”
We all have things we disagree with, but it’s the way we respond to those things are what makes us open minded or not.
I’ve always considered myself as open minded. But now when I will disagree with something, I will wonder if I really am in this present situation.
I find truly open-minded people super interesting. It means that we can talk openly about everything, even touchy topics without any arguments, or being afraid of being judged.
Open-mindedness is a great quality, because it enable us to change and to grow, to learn new things, and to gain better insights and learn from each other’s ideas and opinions.
Without challenging our thoughts and opinions, we would never be able to grow.
We all have our own experiences and education that have led us to the person we now are. These life experiences form our tastes and opinions. I believe they are strongly influenced by the way we were raised and the culture surrounding us.
Everyone has a different background, and we all have a lot to learn from one another.
Here are a few tips and tricks to try to be more open minded.
Don’t listen to reply, listen to understand.
I see this a lot when I explain to people why I choose not to eat meat. Most of the time, people feel offended, even though I’m not aggressive at all. I’m just explaining my point of view through facts, but people often take it personally. They don’t want to listen to what I’m saying : they only try to prove me wrong.
I think that’s an important first step if you want to start being more open minded. Try to understand what the other person is explaining to you, instead of thinking about how you will reply when they are not even done talking.
Try to see through the other person’s perspective.
I’m the kind of person that can understand almost every opinion, even if I totally disagree with it. For example, someone once told me that people from a specific country were bad. Even though I strongly disagree with putting a whole population under one label, I could understand their point of view because I knew their house were broken into by people from this country. In this case, this hate didn’t came out of nowhere, and I could see it came from anger and frustration.
I obviously don’t approve racism, but it is important to be able to understand where someone’s frustrations are coming from instead of immediately dismissing them. Change cannot occur if we do not even attempt a level of mutual understanding. Of course, I’m not saying that we need to accept racism, sexism, or any kind of discrimination, but how can we fight a problem if we don’t try to understand where it comes from ?
Be open to new things!
It can only help you grow. Last year, one of my teachers told us that in the field we will be working on, we needed to force ourselves to learn about things we don’t necessarily like. He gave us a huge list of various type of movies to watch (from Kubrick’s work to Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris), music to listen to and books to read. Even in his class, we learned about painting, politics…
If you’re like me and love a certain kind of music, I would recommend trying something completely different, just to see how you will react to it. I asked one of my friends who loves rap and hip-hop music to send me her “go-to” playlist.
I now know that I like some rap songs, Almodovar’s film aesthetic, and that art history is so much more fascinating that what I’ve expected. I love that I am now able to have an opinion on multiple topics, and that even if I don’t like something, I know what it is and can still discuss about it. Knowledge is power, never forget that !
I hope my ramble was somehow interesting and that it makes you think about this topic !
+Let me know your opinion in the comments.