“Open minds lead to open doors.” ~Unknown
We start forming opinions at an early age and continue all through life.
We decide what we think is right and wrong, what’s good and what’s bad—not just on a larger scale (religion, politics, ethics) but also in every-day interactions.
How people should act. What people should think in certain situations. What it’s okay to feel and express, and when it’s smart or polite to do so.
We develop ideas about how the world should be to support our beliefs and views—things we learned from our environment and experiences—and inevitably feel a sense of internal conflict when a person or situation doesn’t fall in line.
They won’t always. In fact, they won’t more often than they will.
Sometimes our opinions have nothing to do with fact, logic, or common sense. It’s just a matter of what feels right, what our gut tells us, because our gut’s always right. Isn’t that what we’ve been told? To trust our instincts against all odds? We don’t often stop to consider what educated our gut; when we learned what to trust and what to fear.
That’s usually what it comes down to. What’s familiar and safe and supports our sense of order versus what’s unknown and unpredictable and reminds us of how little we can control.
The reality is there’s very little we can control. No matter how orderly a world we create around us, things will sometimes happen that hurt us. No matter how big a distance we place between ourselves and people we don’t understand, they will affect us directly or indirectly—and likely for the worse if they feel judged.
It’s not realistic to suggest we should all completely abandon the concept of good and bad. In fact, it’s a neurological impossibility.
Research actually shows that we use conflicting experiences to form value judgments, and then subconsciously predict situations that may cause us trouble in the future in response to brain activity (in the insula cortex, which helps to process emotions).
It’s instinctive to protect ourselves. The only problem is we sometimes sense danger where there isn’t any there just because we’re scared or don’t understand. In doing so, we limit ourselves, our experiences, and our impact on the world.
Follow your gut if you feel threatened, but stay open to the possibility there’s something you don’t know. The world’s a far more beautiful place when you see it with eyes that want to understand.
Photo by Alexandra Torrenegra