As I sit here in an musty old basement, refreshed with bright paint and simple words strung together to create an inspiring message, a phrase came to mind: CLOSED MINDED. These past few weeks, I have found myself in various situations where my outlook on life greatly differs from those around me. Understandably, I have reconciled these disagreements in my mind with the phrase, “They are just so close minded.” The subject matter of this discord, dispute or whatever other label you want to put for a simple disagreement is unimportant. Of course, that tiny moment in time when compared to an entire lifetime seems laughable in the grand scheme of it all. However, I have to admit that those little moments and frequent interactions are what make up and build the character of friendships and relationships over time.
A few days later, the coin flips, and I am on the other side of it. I am accused of being exactly what I implicated others for in the past — being closed minded. As a person who believes that I am open and empathetic to just about any state of being, that phrase froze me in my tracks. I thought to myself, my mind isn’t closed, I am just guarding it. That is when I realized the difference. People develop defenses over time to most things that they do not understand or simply have no interest in entertaining the opposing idea. They are often bitterly unwilling to take their fences down to see the side of their neighbors yard. That being said, must we agree on everything? In short, absolutely not.
Our differences as human beings is what makes this experience so grand. Instead of calling it closed mindedness, I prefer to call it “guarded”. Guarding your beliefs and building a wall for the laws of life that you hold dear are what helps keeps us sane in a time when contradictory information washes over us like a strong current every second of the day. However, here is the caveat; although we may differ in beliefs, lowering your fence and peering over every now and again may help you sympathize with the people in your life. I will continue to guard my core beliefs while simultaneously seeking to understand the perspective of the opposition because I believe that is truly the spirit of growth.
Just a thought,