Examining openness

Being open seems simple enough, not a strange concept, and probably one we all either assume we are or aspire to be. I’m noticing however, a pattern in my life where I think I’m a pretty open person – I tell the truth, I share almost anything (and some would say too much. I consider myself open to new ideas, changing customs and societal norms, lifestyles, cultures and viewpoints. But is that being open or is that simply acceptance?

Perhaps I’m only open to ideas, concepts, suggestions that fit within my existing beliefs and comforts. For example, many people over the past months and perhaps for years have told me that I should be in business for myself. My reaction is to scoff at that idea. I like the social interaction of a workplace, the benefits and steady paycheck and I don’t feel comfortable ‘selling myself’ or my skills. So that doesn’t appeal to me and I close the door.  However, I can’t help wondering why that message keeps coming to me and I’m asking myself how open am I if I discount it every time I hear it.  Reflecting on my life as a child, I can remember a defensive feeling rising up in me whenever I received suggestions that didn’t fit within my comfort and meeting those suggestions with, well you must not know me well, or sure that might work for you but I’ll continue to do things my way. I’m guessing I’m not alone in this position.

I have opened my mind and heart to things I’d been previously closed to over time, but is that because I’ve become more open or because something happened to make these things fit within my existing beliefs and comforts? It’s an interesting idea to explore. Am I growing as a person? Sure. But am I becoming more open or just more informed and accepting? Is acceptance the same as openness? Perhaps it’s all personal perspective but I have realized that if I can sense that defensive feeling rising up and identify that it might just be my ego getting in the way, I might just open myself up to new feelings, new joys, new knowledge and experiences.

What is our purpose in life? Today, I believe, our purpose is to learn, to feel, to love and to aspire to be wiser, kinder, more loving and more peace-filled than the day before. Forgiveness, gratitude, love and acceptance are the qualities I most embrace at this time as they lift me up, help me to see, to hope, to dream and to appreciate. They transform have-nots into haves and challenges into blessings and help me to remember that while I am so far from perfect, I am uniquely me, and here for a reason. I am Blessed.

Banyon Tree
Magnificent Growth