4 Benefits Of Being Open Minded

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Every individual that comes into this world comes to develop a set of self-limiting beliefs, so I want to remind you of 4 benefits of being open minded. 

With every passing year, we gain an understanding of the things we are, and are not capable of. 

Some of these beliefs offer us protection. We know we cannot fly, so we avoid standing too close to the edge of a cliff. We know that if we walk onto a busy road, we’ll probably get hit by a car. We also know that if we put our hand onto a hot stove, we’ll burn ourselves.

Nevertheless, there are so many beliefs we develop that become problematic when our instinctive desire for safety and security cause limiting ideologies. All our lives, whether conscious of it or not, we have been fed limited views as to how we can expect our futures to appear: the jobs available to us, the opportunities within our reach and our financial potential. However, it cannot be denied, that in the 21st century, this rigidity of culture has been subverted. No longer is our earning potential dictated by the qualifications we’ve obtained, our family connections or our age. In the age of the internet, there are a multitude of opportunities, pathways and connections available to us at the touch of our fingertips, if we’d only be brave enough to reach for them. Just a few of the benefits to being open minded include:

Being vulnerable

There is a certain irony in the fact that being vulnerable is one of the bravest things we can do. Opening ourselves up, and vigorously pursuing goals and ambitions in such a way that leaves us open to pain, rejection and humiliation, is the only way in which we can empower and inspire ourselves, our friends and the people around us. As the cliché saying goes, there is both danger and excitement in the idea that what can break you can also make you. 

In our work lives, relationships and friendships, we all have the tendency to stay in our comfort zones, to be okay with being just okay. But the thing with comfort zones is that nothing ever grows there. While many refrain from envisioning realities, lifestyles and relationships different to that which we are confined to, it is only in doing this we can become all we were meant to be. Give ourselves all that we deserve. Though adopting a growth mindset comes with growing pains, it is the only way we may lead a truly fulfilling life. 

Accepting change

Accepting change is something we struggle with, particularly when the change was unwanted or unexpected. Though when we are open minded, surrender to circumstances outside of our control become so much easier. No longer do we perceive changes as threatening, but as an inevitable part of life, forcing us to grow, evolve and strengthen in beneficial ways.

Letting go of control

Letting go of control is another product of open-mindedness that enables us to flourish. It is an act of self-love and self-compassion when we no longer hold restrictive and limiting expectations of ourselves that lead to feelings of guilt, insecurity and frustration when they are not met. In aspiring to live loving, wholesome lives, regardless of our circumstances and idealistic culture, real peace and contentment can be found.

Growth in confidence

A growth in confidence is also something we can achieve from not placing confining expectations on ourselves and the people around us. No longer is our self worth and confidence dictated by the score we get on a test, our success in our careers or the validation of our friends, as we can forgive ourselves for past mistakes, personal weaknesses and future mishaps.

Can you think of another benefit to being open-minded? Comment any other benefits below.

 

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How strength and gentleness are interchangeable.

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘strength’ as having the ‘capacity for exertion or endurance’, as well as the ‘power to resist force: solidity, toughness’.

The typical images and ideology evoked from the idea of strength is that of physically strong men and women, a steely demeanour, as well as a determined and confident approach. Indeed, in spite of it’s superficiality, many assess the strength and capacity of an individual on their physical fitness or body language. Of course, someone large, lean and muscular will be deemed as more capable than someone with a small frame and very little muscle tone.

Nevertheless, as with everything, appearances deceive, and there are multiple instances wherein someone slight is stronger than someone that seems so on the surface. It would seem that it is the deeper implications of a muscular figure that indicate the intangible quality of strength, or toughness. The near supernatural mental resilience demanded from successful athletes and sports people, facing, and recovering from, countless defeats, in order to reach the top, is an attitude to be revered. It is a level of perseverance that might cause many to assume the individual applies the same, aggressive determination in their interaction with, and approach to those around them. The same unshakeable passion and drive could, for instance, translate into domineering self assertion and leadership.

Even so, too often, the holistic set of qualities required to make up “strength” in its physical manifestation, are ignored. With strength, or toughness, being the antithesis of softness, we can’t help but see strength as synonymous with harshness and rigidity. Though, when examined closely, many would recognise the plethora of values that form it, including gentleness. 

‘Gentleness’, a ‘mildness of manners or disposition’, a soft approach without coarseness and abruptness, as well as compassion, can been as integral to strength, to having a ‘capacity for exertion or endurance’.

Complementing a steely determination, gentleness and compassion towards oneself and the people around you enables you to view yourself and the world around you with kind eyes. It grants the patience to persevere through stormy seasons, and a limitless acceptance of what is and what will be. With gentleness, or strength, we can all hope to see the pursuit of physical, intellectual and personal progress not as a marathon to endure, but rather, as a current to glide with.

What instances in your life have you had to harness gentleness to get yourself through a situation? Alternatively, do you believe it has ever led to some form of disappointment? Share below.

What does it mean to live with grace?

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The Merriam Webster dictionary defines grace as both a physical and intangible quality, as an ’ease or suppleness or movement’, as well as a ‘disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy or clemency’.

According to the first definition then, to be graceful is to move fluidly, without any awkwardness or resistance. And according to the second definition, to be graceful is to assume a benevolent demeanour.

There are so many instances in life wherein we feel as though we are pushing against the tide, grace, being the furthest from our agenda. 

We relentlessly strive for perfection, taking our frustrations out on the people around us when we fall short. Envision and aspire to realities different to that which we have in the present, believing that, with that job, that partner or that job title, we will be happier, more comfortable, and more at peace. 

But the thing with grace, is that, it demands vain resistance to the circumstances in life to be relieved. The psychological guards and barriers held up in the face of anxiety, to be lowered. And the complete and utter surrender to what is and what will be. Just as a long distance runner succeeds in consistent smooth, short paces and breaths; a ballerina reaches prima after years’ perseverence, and a swimmer excels after learning to glide against the current, grace demands harnessing this commitment in all areas of your life. For instance, in your approach to others and the challenges you face throughout life.

Refraining from snapping at your sibling when they ask the same question multiple times, listening intently as your friend shares what’s on their mind, and doing the dishes on your day, even when you don’t feel like it, are small, yet significant ways in which you can nurture the grace, peace and love you want to see in your life. In order to reach true prosperity, grace is required on a social level, in applying empathy in interactions with colleagues and leaders whose behaviour you may not completely understand. Acting compassionately at every opportunity, and, consistently, staying true to your values. Maintaining self-discipline in the face of attractive, yet destructive temptations.

And indeed, living with this kind of grace is infectious, emanating into the lives of others. Ever spoken to someone with a calm, level, focused disposition and walked away feeling somewhat refreshed and unburdened? In a world so fraught with anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and confusion, there’s more than enough room and reason to embody the change we want to see. To be a peacemaker of your generation. 

Of course, while each of us as individuals may only have three or four meaningful interactions on a daily basis, if we applied grace in our lives collectively, the impact would be world changing.

Fanciful? Perhaps. But possible nonetheless. What does living with grace look like to you? Comment your thoughts below.

Why you need to know (and show you know) your worth.

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It’s always tiring coming across someone particularly arrogant, whether that’s in the workplace, in your personal life, or at friend and family gatherings. 

Those that believe that they are set apart from the rest, or that act entitled, tend to be considerably narcissistic. Obtaining delusional ideas about their abilities, qualities and superiority. Although projecting a sense of unwavering self-confidence which, on many levels, is incredibly admirable, it has always been a disposition that, conscientiously, I’ve evaded. And my naive and continual hope that others will share in my set of values, including the antithesis of pride, that of humility, has proven both beneficial and detrimental throughout my life.

Many believe that in remaining grounded, and keeping a certain level of humility, they will be better orientated towards serving others. In not having an elevated opinion of oneself, those with humility are meant to have better discipline in their work, be more committed partners and better respected as leaders. It is something that I have seen brought to light in the lives of friends, the stories of respectable politicians, and in my own experiences.

Kathy Caprino indicated in Forbes that many individuals are raised with “an over-sized sense of entitlement and superiority, yet are deprived of real love and unconditional support”, leading to a “lack of true self-awareness and of a healthy level of self-esteem and confidence”. It’s a truth so clearly reflected in the attitudes of many around us. And it’s interesting to see how, in spite of it’s toxicity, it’s prevalence has led to it becoming, to a certain degree, a desirable trait.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand that, with societies idealisations of self-confidence being so diverse, being overly humble and submissive can result in one being overlooked, undermined and disrespected.

Character, so to speak, is not always assessed on what is done in private, but the ability to display one’s achievements and abilities loud and proud. So, while it is great to be quietly confident and possess healthy levels of self-esteem, making one not inclined to justify, seek praise or gain validation for their every action, things may need to be spelled out to those that only look to the surface. Applying humility, a ‘freedom from pride or arrogance’, in every area of your life, is not something that should be turned from, providing your self worth is in tact, but it is an application that can be controlled. A healthy self-esteem and self-assurance should be brought to the forefront, made external in instances wherein others lack the perception and discernment to notice it.

So, while, by no means does projecting an image of superiority and self-confidence reflect innate confidence and significant ability, knowing when this air must come through is a form of emotional intelligence. Speaking out on your accomplishments will not be you adopting the insecurities of others, but rather, knowing your worth, in seizing the opportunities in which you must actively and justly defend it.

Do you have a healthy self-esteem, and faith in your abilities, yet feel as though you constantly have to prove this to others? How did you deal with this? Let me know in the comments section.

Why escapism is integral in times of need.

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines escapism as “the tendency to seek, or the practice of seeking, distraction from what normally has to be endured.”

Thus far in my life, I have deemed escapism as two-sided, as both delusional and a necessity for maintaining higher perspective, a broader vision. Indeed, escapism, in its multiple forms , such as music, film and dance, grants one the ability to transcend their reality.

Nevertheless, reason is placed above passion in today’s education system. 

Of course, not fundamental to the functioning of society, the arts are never pushed, and the logic and rationality of the academics: maths, science and English, take precedence, and so it was English, the most creative of the three subjects, that I pursued. 

However, isn’t it ironic, that the creative subjects, music, film and dance, integral pieces to a wholesome culture, are undervalued, when various studies, and the experiences of so many, indicate them as forming the societal backbone? A psychological crux? Many take full advantage of music throughout their education, using uplifting and classical genres throughout essay and exam season, to offer the emotional zest that’s craved.

Many point to obsessive video gaming, TV addiction and manipulative music as causing people to neglect their responsibilities. And yes, obviously, immersing oneself in a fictional reality to the point where it feels more true than true circumstances, can be destructive to your own life, as well as the lives of others.

Even so, we cannot deny the incredible healing capacity of mental escapism. Psychological transcendence from the mundane, with alternate situations, mentalities and emotions can facilitate real change. Indeed, say, if pursuing escapism, through movie immersion, a Spotify playlist or Instagram feed is the only natural means through which a cancer patient can escape emotional trauma, besides physical pain, then does escapism become essential? Of course it does. And if a struggling medical student did not have access to, say, uplifting music, words of encouragement and self-expression, would they be as self-motivated and emotionally charged to change their situation? It seems unlikely. And, is it a coincidence that top-performing athletes accredit their success to, besides physical training, their ability to imagine a circumstance, perception and feeling different from their own? Not really.

It appears that a thriving society would look like one wherein the invisible divide and hierarchical structure in place between logic and emotion is relinquished. A society wherein logic is taken from it’s pedestal and recognised as most effective when in harmony with feeling. The intellect valued would be, not only rationale forming the framework for medical, engineering and operational industries, but the creative, transcendent expression, that offers the glue.

Do you perceive escapism as integral to enhancing your daily experiences? When has it eased, improved or changed your situation for the better? Comment your thoughts below.

What does it mean to value your time?

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We have all heard the saying that ‘time is precious’, but what does it look like when the ideology is manifested in one’s reality? The majority of people know the obvious forms of time management. Going to bed at a reasonable hour so that they can wake up early for work; planning their days in their diaries or their heads so that it is extra productive, and planning activities and events in advance for memorable and stress-free experiences.

Following the basic principles is great, as they will determine, to a certain extent, a successful and joyful life.

However, can you imagine the control and command you would have over your life if you, near literally, did not let a minute go to waste? Of course, you have to be realistic and allow for a certain degree of spontaneity. Nevertheless, with more effective time management than is standard, you can ensure that each area of your life is nurtured, and, you will allow yourself to get within better reach of true fulfilment and balance.

Valuing your time in the workplace could look like keeping your phone switched off, so that you can fully focus. It looks like listening to, and fully taking on board, feedback, rather than letting your mind wander. Looking at what appears to be setbacks or failures, from an outside eye, as a learning experience, a moment that facilitated growth. It can look like using your reflections to propel you into making more informed, aware, steps, instead of moping and dwelling on the negatives.

In relationships it could mean not staying in, nor tolerating, situations in which you are being disrespected, unappreciated or that do not help you to grow. If you are single, valuing your time could mean being thoughtful in your approach to finding a partner. Having enough self-awareness to assess if another person would be a good fit for your values, personality and lifestyle. As many people know, early signs of incompatibility could lead to conflict later down the line.

In terms of your health, it could mean maintaining discipline in your fitness and your diet. Making it a priority to go running, dancing or maybe spinning, week-in and week-out. Dedication to packing a healthy lunch the night before, time and time again.

And what is the end product of sustaining awareness towards each area of your life? The equivalent in success, surely. While you do not need to plan your life down to the T, it is good to know that, usually, in making conscientious choices, you can truly steer, take the reigns, of your life. 

Taking ownership of, and making the most of, your time, then, seems to be what it means to value it.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Should distance be an issue in a friendship or a relationship?

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“Platonic love” is defined by the urban dictionary as ‘[a] romantic bond between a couple that involves no lust or carnality; often a deep pure love.’

This kind of love then, really, is the ideal kind, because it is unconditional and not based on a shallow foundation. In it’s spirituality and intangibility, it is unwavering and it is steadfast. It’s a reason why so many of us hold the deepest of admirations for the relationships that start with the couple having a best friendship. Initially drawn and kept together by their values and personalities, it’s acknowledged that any romance that blossoms is derived from an intrinsic, rather than a superficial and surface-level, attraction.

Surely then, a steady couple that possessed a depth of love that was “platonic”, in their relationship, would be able to maintain their bond irregardless of physical distance?

In spite of what our popular Western and oversexualized culture might suggest, to love one another spiritually and purely means that, while sustained verbal or written communication may be integral for the couple’s longevity, their physical presence isn’t needed for the relationship to survive.

So what does this mean? It means that in order to keep a long-distance relationship alive, you should focus on continually nurturing it’s spiritual strength.

We all know the sadness that coincides with being apart from a loved one. There has been many days that I’ve spent wishing myself away from my present surroundings, to wherever my friend is and whatever they’re doing. But now I think about it, my dissatisfaction was not caused by the lack of the person’s physical presence, but by a sense of disconnection that arose from the knowledge that they were having different experiences, with different people.

But of course, this is ridiculous. And if you both have an awareness that wishing yourself out of your physical circumstances is all but futile, you will both be able to reach a place of contentment in the present moment.

Your impalpable connection unaffected, your relationship, unchanged.

As long as you feel like you’re on the same page, the distance, or the time, you are apart, should not wear your relationship thin. Communicate. Tell them about the hilarious conversation you had with that colleague the other day, what’s been upsetting you recently, or what’s been giving you life.

Have any of you struggled with a long-distance relationship? Share how, if so, you managed to work through it. Were there other challenges that you faced, in spite of feeling deeply connected on a spiritual level? Comment your thoughts below.