One of the things about beliefs, opinions, and goals is that everyone has them. Sometimes our opinions are so strong that nothing can make us change them. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but sometimes that can hinder your personal growth. There are times when accepting other people's criticism is beneficial, but there are also times when it just brings you down. The great part about us having free will is that we can determine when we take someone's advice or when not to take it. Also, as Americans, we are blessed to be given the right to free speech and the freedom of expression. One thing that a lot of us forget is that other people also have these rights. We may not agree with others on everything, but we need to remember that they have just as much right to express themselves as you do no matter how "wrong" you think they are. So, the best thing that you can do is to listen to others with an open-mind. Instead of discouraging others based on their expectations of the world or their beliefs, take the time to listen to them. Maybe you can learn something. So, here are ten reasons why it is beneficial to have an open-mind.
1. It promotes empathy. When you start to be receptive of other people's ideas, you get the chance to see where they are coming from. Once you get the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes, you become less apt to pass judgement on others. This isn't something that comes naturally, but it's something that you have to train yourself to do. For some people it comes more naturally, but for others it may seem like a lost cause. Even though something may seem like a lost cause, that doesn't mean that it necessarily is. Once you give yourself the ability to be receptive of other people's ideas, you become more understanding of them and you will become more patient and express more gratitude for the things that you have. When you take the time to realize what other people are going through, chances are what you're going through may not be as bad. When this happens, you can use your energy to lend a helping hand or kind words to those in need instead of feeling sorry for yourself.
2. It allows you to explore different perspectives of an issue. When you take the time to listen to others without going back on your beliefs or opinions, you are giving yourself the opportunity to explore a side of an issue that you never thought about before. You may not agree with what the other person has to say, but the different perspective can be refreshing at times. It allows you to see where other people are coming from and why other people have such strong opinions on certain topics. Listening to different views on certain topics is healthy because it encourages you to explore multiple sides of an issue instead of focusing on one part of the problem. This will ultimately promote critical thinking, and once you are able to think critically, it will become easier to come up with solutions when you are facing a predicament.
3. It allows you to become more accepting of certain outcomes. When you approach life with an open-mind and realize that not everything will go your way all the time and that everything happens for a reason, you will become more accepting of negative outcomes. If everything turned out your way all the time, what fun would that be? It's human instinct to become bitter when things don't go our way, but there is a reason for everything. For instance, when you get stood up for a date, an instinct may be to become bitter towards the opposite sex and play the victim role. However, it is more refreshing to take the view that there is a reason why he stood me up. Maybe he wasn't right for me and Mr. Right is just around the corner. Chances are, if you assess the situation later, you will be thankful that the person stood you up or realize that he had a situation with family or work that was more important at the time.
4. It allows you to become more content with your life. Once you approach things with an open-mind and expand your horizons, you become more appreciative of what you have in life. Just take the chance and look around and realize that everyone has their problems. It is human nature to mope about it when things in your life aren't going as you want it, but it is more productive to focus on the things in your life that ARE going right. Chances are once you do that, everything else will fall into place.
5. It allows you to grow as a person. When you become more open-minded, you allow yourself to learn more about yourself. This can happen by listening to other people talk about interests that you never heard of, and this could give yourself the opportunity to explore a new interest. For instance, I always thought that divination techniques, such as astrology, were just an excuse for people to get attention. However, once I read Sylvia Browne's "The History of Psychics", it encouraged me to research those techniques further and form an opinion on those subjects myself. Surprisingly, I've found numerology to be very useful!
6. It will improve your relationships with others. Becoming more understanding and more content with your life will ultimately help improve your relationships with others. Once you become more receptive towards others, you will naturally emit positive energy and people will gravitate towards you. Unfortunately, negative energy and close-mindedness is more common than positive energy and open-mindedness. When you are able to assess situations with an open-mind, you won't just jump to conclusions, but you will be able to realize that there are multiple reasons why someone is acting a certain way. When you are able to do this you will be able to determine how to help the person out instead of using your energy to make them feel bad.
7. You will be able to accept criticism. When you are told that something you're doing isn't right, what is your first instinct? Most of us will get defensive and want to call the person telling us that we're wrong mean names and that they are wrong. Instead, it is better to take the time to listen to what they have to say. Don't become defensive, but be receptive to what they have to say. They may be right, but they may be wrong. If they're wrong, you don't have to start an argument with them, but you can say that you will consider what they have to say.
8. It's more attractive. Which type of person would you rather be around, someone who goes around preaching his beliefs to anyone and everyone who will listen or someone who is willing to listen to what you have to say and will lend a helping hand whenever you need it? Chances are, most of you will say the second one. When you become more accepting of others, people will gravitate toward you because you are not emitting negative energy. It's not your place to tell anyone the difference between right and wrong. We were all put on this earth for a reason, so we should embrace each other's differences instead of turning our backs on others because they're different.
9. It will open up more opportunities for you. When you become more open-minded, there are more possibilities for specific outcomes. For instance, if you're looking for a job, you are restricting yourself if you only want to work in a certain area or only want to do one thing. Broaden your horizons and see what's out there that you can do. There may be a company interested in you that you never thought of because of where they're located, but if you don't take the chance to check them out you might be missing out on a job that could help you grow as a person and financially.
10. God would want us to be open-minded. If you're not a believer, you don't have to listen to what I have to say for this one. Nothing is forcing you to read this, but it may change your opinion about one of the stereotypes of Christians being hypocritical. Remember that He died on the cross for our sins. We all sin, but everyone does it differently. If we ask for forgiveness, he will accept us as who we are. With that being said, why should we hold grudges or form opinions of others because of what they believe? We serve a God of free will. He gave us the opportunity to make choices, even if He might not agree with some of them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this with an open-mind. This is just my opinion, and I realize that some of you may be receptive about these benefits of being open-minded while some of you may still continue to think that what you believe is the only right way. Some of you may be in the middle of the road of this issue. No matter what your stance is, it's fine with me!
Brynn (author) from Central City, PA on December 21, 2012:
Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone! Stephanie, I agree, I try to surround myself with open-minded people. I found out having plans doesn't always work out unless you're open to other options or can adapt to change fairly easily. And Denise, thanks! It is definitely a part of the Christian lifestyle. I started seeking Him about 2.5 or 3 months ago, and I found so many changes in my life just by being able to open up my mind and being receptive to other ideas. I've always been open-minded, but have only gotten more so in the past couple of months. It just makes life so much easier if you accept that other people will act they way they do, and that we should embrace each other's differences and try to seek out the good in others instead of just ridiculing them because we don't agree with their beliefs, opinions, or actions.
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 21, 2012:
Having an open mind is definitely a choice. It requires a person to say, "Hey, wait a minute" and stop before reacting or judging another. It would be great if more people did that. It is interesting that you point out it is part of your life as a Christian. Tolerance of others' beliefs and actions is a hallmark of our Savior's life. We would all do well to become more like him.
meloncauli from UK on December 21, 2012:
Welcome to HubPages. This is a great article and I found it most interesting. I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future.
Don't forget to drop by the Learning Center if you have any questions.
Best wishes :)
stephanieb27 from United States on December 20, 2012:
Great hub! I am open-minded and definitely enjoy being around other open-minded people! :)