Monday, 18 January 2016

Open Mind, Open Life

'The mind is like a parachute, it doesn't work unless it's open.'

The mind is an undeniably incredible thing. For something that I used to curse on a regular basis, as it seemingly worked against me, I've now learned that the mind is a powerful and un-frickin'-real tool. The strength it has can change our outlooks, our experiences and pretty much our lives for either the better, or the worse. It just comes down to how we use and train our own.

I never would have liked to consider myself as narrow-minded but from my own journey, I now realise that my thoughts came out in black and white. There was rules, conditions and a belief system that didn't really accommodate any outside thinking. It was unfortunately, entirely tunnel-visioned. There was repetitive self-deprecating talk, self-destructive behaviours and a variety of vicious circles that just went round and round.

Opening my mind has been crucial in me being able to change. It has been pivotal in creating a new way in life, away from the conditions to which I used to submit. It's essential for any of us to open up our view of our world and what it actually has to offer for us.

Here's why having an Open Mind, will Open Up Your Life:

1. Exploring New Ideas 

When shrouded in our own narrow 'this is how it is' ways of thinking, we tend to shut the door on new ideas. This is impeccably effective... at keeping us stuck. There are so many ideas that I would have dismissed previously as 'cringey hippy sh*t' that I now credit with helping me hugely. Positive thinking, affirmations, the Law of Attraction and gratitude to name but a few were things that I continually slammed the door on before I began to entertain a more open-minded approach. 

The negative, closed mind can be pretty stubborn so it's important to keep working at it to pry it open. But once it is, new ideas can flow right in - ok, of course, some may take a few ebbs before sticking around but they will keep coming. All of the ideas that I disregarded so easily before, are now things that I'd advocate without hesitation because having given them a chance, I know that they work. 

Though, I do understand that the narrow mind may accuse these of being unrealistic, naive or 'for the birds' that's fine because I know that kind of mind takes a little longer to understand. The open mind however seeks to understand, discover and engage with new ideas; it can speak fluently in variety, colour and authentic life experience. And that's the kind of language I want to be learning.

2. Questioning Old Beliefs

There's plenty of patterns that we just come to accept as normal. Maybe out of habit, maybe out of societal norm, maybe it's just what we're used to and we simply hadn't considered any alternative. But these beliefs could easily be self-limiting and even a little suffocating after a while. In some cases, they are stunting our growth and keeping us away from what we want, so opening our mind means questioning them. Put them on the stand and start an inquiry into how valid they really are.

We need to get curious about what we're actually subscribed to in our minds. Get curious about what you feel strongly about and whether it's something worth giving energy to, whether it's something that you truly value. Our attitude towards body image, nourishment, perspective, beliefs, life, other people and so on may all need adjusting even if we don't realise straightaway.

Questions are the beginnings of change. For me, opening my mind meant realising that it doesn't have to be my normal to hate my body, just because plenty of women do. It doesn't have to be my normal to watch what I eat just because the diet industry is so popular. It doesn't have to be my normal to put myself down, just because it might be seen as big-headed not to. My normal can be whatever I want it to be and yours can too. 

3. Change and Possibilities.

Dreams, possibilities and goals become exponentially more exciting with an open mind. It's easy to find ourselves stuck in the belief that life has a list of boxes we must tick. You know, we need to go to college, get a respectable 9-5 and find our way to retirement via each little tick-box. 

But what about opening up to other possibilities and different routes. What about learning about ourselves before we start making big life decisions and pay heed to what we genuinely desire out of life. This is one that opens up a world of potential. Narrow-mindedness only ever brought me shame when at various times, I wasn't on the same path as my peers, I was convinced I had failed in some way as I didn't 'fit' the usual route. But it turns out, that just wasn't the route for me. 

Funnily enough, since opening up to my own little wayward path paved with my personal dreams and possibilities, everything has changed. And it's going more in the direction I want it to than I could have imagined before. See, there isn't an instruction manual to life, no step-by-step guide that we can follow. We're all just trying to figure it out, so it might help if we started listening to ourselves now and then instead of trying to fit into a tunnel visioned view that we just can't see through. Maybe our eyes are bigger than that little eye-piece.

4. Trying New things

'Why not?' is a beautiful question that opens up our mind and our experience. Sometimes fear or habits stop us from trying out things that a little part of us has always wanted to try. We might be afraid of what others think or we might believe that we're incapable. Maybe it's even something we think will be seen as 'weird' or we fear that we'll be on our own in pursuing it. That's where we need to slide the doors of our mind right open and consider what we could get out of it. Of course it might not work out, but it equally could. It could open up new opportunities, help us meet new people or even just create a story to tell. Forget about judgement and just lean into more curiosity.

The world is a fairly vast place, we all know this. So it seems crazy to adapt certain ways and just stick to them forever, yet so many of us do just that. And we can get pretty defensive over our old ways too, convinced that they're perfectly fine as they are. Opening my mind, eyes and cheesy as it is, heart, to life and all its opportunity, ideas and potential has just led to me growing as a person. It's given me a whole new persepctive, it has helped me to build my self worth with those oh-so-cringey affirmations that I used to put down. It has allowed me to grow strong in new beliefs and to challenge all of the old ones that I clung onto before, all the ones that narrowed me, my life and my hopes.

Our minds are capable of taking in so much, why not remove the restrictions on them?



4 comments:

  1. I love the "why not " bit. All too often we see something that we might like to do but then convince ourselves that it's for other people and not ourselves. We make every excuse under the sun as tm why we can't or won't engage in that something new. So from now on I'm gonna think " why not" and start giving new things a chance.

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    1. That's so true we can tend to talk ourselves out of it but that little question can get in and turn that around :) thanks for commenting, happy to hear you got something out of it!

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  2. I've just started a Mindfulness course. I'm hoping that in becoming more mindful, my mind opens up to new ways of dealing with stress and issues. Definitely want to embrace the open-mindedness that you so eloquently write of.

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    1. Aw nice one that's brilliant Sinéad, mindfulness can be great for that so hopefully it helps! Thanks for commenting :)

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Any thoughts on this? :)