What does it mean to be Open-Minded?

how to be open minded



adjective: open-minded

1.willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced.


We all want to consider ourselves as open minded. It sounds so modern, adventurous and cool that how could ever not perceived ourselves as openminded!

I don’t know any person who would admit his or her closemindness.

With openmindness there is no greyish zone,  like between introvert/ extravert, crazy/calm, optimistic/ down to earth.  Closemindness is totally pejorative and nobody would voluntary associate himself with this adjective.

So, if everyone’s mind is so wide open to new, do we  actually live in the beautiful world of openminded people?

No we don’t.

I want to believe that Berlin, the city where I live is open minded. It certainly is more open minded than my  conservative Cracow where I was born. In Berlin you can act however you like, dress up as you like, be rich, be poor. None cares too much, money don’t impress anymore, not many judge you. You are perfectly accept with your insanity  as long as it’s harmless ( being crazy is even perceived as good).  People don’t suppress each other here. In the summer parks and lakes are full of naked people. Why not? If they like. Some clubs are openly sexual. Why not? It’s a nightclub after all. Want to do drugs? You can easily buy them in some places, everyone including the police knows where. Your choice. And the society works fine. I never heard of any rape nor I feel unsafe while walking on the streets by night.
Yes , that’s definitely the most open minded city I spent longer time in ( after Cracow, Paris, Lyon, Buenos Aires, Warsaw  and New York). People chill here and try to enjoy their lives and let others do the same. But I believe that these openmindness could have gone even further.
Often people THINK that they are open minded but they are actually not.

Openminded person is not prejudiced towards new idea or another person. Openminded people are not prejudiced in general.

Being open minded means that someone accepts the fact that other people can and will act not according to what you think is right. For close minded people things are black and white;  cool/ lame ; correct/ incorrect ; good/bad etc. Truly open minded people see the whole rainbow of possible behaviors not just the polarities.

Of course that there are things which you consider as bad , but they are bad FOR YOU. Let other people behave and do, look and have whatever lifestyle they want.

Don’t judge.

Open minded people don’t judge others. They are not arrogant enough to dare to think that they are the one who knows what does it mean to act correctly. They really take into account that they might be wrong themselves.

They don’t judge also because they know that these differences and variations in the world make it a more beautiful place.

Don’t expect others to match certain standards.

This article was inspired by the story of Samm Newman, an obese girl who filled her Instagram feed with photos of herself in underwear. Showing her body to a public served her as a form of therapy, from the depression she’d suffered for years.The photos were hardly provocative. Showing a bit of skin, but nothing you wouldn’t see on a million pictures of other girls showing their selfies from the gym or beach on social media every day.

However some eager employee of Instagram removed her entire account containing over 560 followers and over 500 personal memories of her self love journey without warning, explaining that Samm’s pictures was violating the app’s community guidelines.

I’m curious which truly open-minded Instagram’s editor, of such a ‘cool’ and ‘modern’ company  decided that this girl is less aesthetic than the skinny half naked teens presenting their selfies all over Instagram everyday. I assume that all Instagram editor must feel extremely open minded if they work in such a fancy company, in a middle of New York, so probably the person who decide that the fat girl should be bannish from Instagram for not matching the common sense of beauty is ok.

No, it is not ok.

Accept that your perspective is subjective.

Everyone has a different vision of how it all meant to be. Some people need success and money, some people care about it less. Some people are strong and motivated to have a perfect body, some people don’t. Everyone has his own perspective and hierarchy.

And it’s all fine. Sometimes I get the impression that people are selectively open minded. They feel that they are super open because they have some interracial friendships and have a few gay fellows, but they are harsh if someone is poor or fat. These are all shades of the same rainbow!

We exist somewhere in between oppositions. Day would not exist without night, death would not exist without life, beauty couldn’t glow with its splendid without ugliness hiding in its shade.

The oppositions often need each other to survive. Great body wouldn’t be considered as great if the fat, never-seen-gym-body wouldn’t exist. Rich people wouldn’t feel so magnificent if there were no poor ones to compare themselves with, and so on.

All the qualities need to coexist with theirs oppositions. Open minded person at least try to observe the world without putting labels.

Don’t believe what you think.

The problem starts when people think that they know something. It gets worse when they consider treat their knowledge as an absolutely certain and unconditional thing. Following their reasoning, they assume, that if their lifestyle and way of seeing things is the one and the only true, the others who think differently are wrong.

All conflicts in the world started because people believed that they are right, without taking into consideration that there is a space for being “right” for everyone.

Almost every religion and political doctrine has a solid foundation of some akcjomats, truths which are unconditional and serves as explanation (and often excuse) many actions. Unconidtional truth denies rights to existence of any other truths.  It makes people feel superior.

Does anyone who feels superior over someone can be openminded? I don’t think so. Openminded people accept the limits of their own perspective, so they try to broad their horizons and they

Don’t use ALWAYS/NEVER words.

They never use these words, and always take into consideration the chance of being wrong :)

Now, seriously how many times did you break your Never or Always? I did it so many times that whenever I say that I will Never do something , at some point sooner or later life made me to break my assumption. I have impression that is a game I play with my fate…

These definitive words put your mind into frame. Chronological frames, which don’t matter at all, but thats in my further posts. Always and never said in a context of  the future in most of the case sshows that you are actually very close minded…That you think you know that in the future you will never open yourself for something and you will always stick to what you think is good.

My favorite polish poete Wislawa Szymborska said – we all know about ourselves as much as we were tested. I remind  myself of this quote before I want to sneak one of those words.

Make their conversations deeper.

People who strive to be open minded try to understand. By asking many questions you admit that they don’t know everything. But it’s not only about the amount of your conversations, it’s about how deep they can get.

Many people waste time on empty conversations, or make it more of the “what I read here or there” exchange than trying to build a real connection.  Is too much of a small talk not just a waste opportunity to interact truly with someone? I rather choose silence.

 Almost everyone has some interesting story to tell, sometimes you just have to dig a bit deeper. Some people seem to have thousands of them and you feel like you could listen to them all the time… Some people  seem less interesting and you have impression that they don’t have much to say to you. Maybe you will hear just one strange story, but this particular story will open you a door to  different mind, a whole new universe you didn’t reach before. Believe me, sometimes one unexpected story can totally change you attitude towards many thing. I brought some stories with strangers in some of my my travel articles.

Embrace changes.

They know that changes are something good. Different means different. Not worse or better, just different with all its shades. Changes can be scary, the outcome is usually unpredictable. We are losing what we currently have. But don’t we lose it every single minute? Time is passing.

That’s my long definition of openmindness. I’m still learning what does it mean to me.

And you, what does it mean to be Open Minded for you?

Post a new comment