My phone pinged as a text came in.
“Two people today told me to sell the boat. That’s not gonna happen.”
It was a text from my friend who, earlier that day, had been telling me how dire her financial situation was. She shared that she was going to have to close her business and go get a full time job, “It’s the only way. It’s the ONLY way we can get out from under the debt.”
No one likes to be told what to do. I paused and thought before I answered the text. She was clear about her feelings toward unloading the boat. So I replied “Maybe you could try practicing being open minded. Maybe you don’t have to sell the boat, but since two different people suggested it, maybe it’s an idea worth considering.”
The whole exchange has me thinking about open mindedness and how that ties in with humility. Here’s another illustration: I planned my own wedding. I had a timeline and it was set. Nothing was going to change the timeline. My rigidity prevented my dear ole’ sweet grey headed daddy from delivering a beautiful, heartfelt toast at the wedding. (I made him do it at the rehearsal dinner, because there was NO TIME at the reception- which is bulls*&t…) The family suggested that they have the after party at the hotel bar instead of the cute Irish pub down the street. I said, “NO! We are going to the Irish pub.” And the family went to the hotel bar after all. I got in the way of some really cool experiences with my lack of humility. In my defense, it’s nearly impossible to practice humility and open mindedness when you’re under a lot of stress. Just sayin’
How do you combat that rigid close minded thinking? My friend showed me simply by opening her mouth. She shared what was in her heart and mind and was open to hearing others’ opinions. When I suggested that she should consider selling the boat, she said she would. THAT, my friends, is being open minded.
Practicing being open minded leads to true humility. The fact that my friend was willing to consider someone else’s opinion and feedback shows her understanding that she may not have all the answers. CS Lewis said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” It’s a firm understanding of who you are now and a genuine desire to grow towards an ideal version of yourself. Humility is teachability. When I remain teachable, then I can grow. If my mind is closed down, then I’m not learning. I’m not growing. And, experience has shown me, I lose out on some really cool stuff.
How can we cultivate more humility? Through practicing being open minded. When we listen without judgement but with an open mind we develop the ability to learn and grow. To become more of who our Creator made us to be. More authentic, more whole hearted (as Brene Brown would say). We live happier, we don’t struggle as much, and our minds become so much friendlier to dwell in.
Just for today
I’m going to envision my mind like a comfortable living room where people who have earned the right, can come in and share their viewpoints, experience and wisdom. Before taking action, I will consider all viewpoints without judging if they are good bad or indifferent. Then I will pray for an intuitive thought and trust that my Higher Power will lead me in the best possible direction.
My God, please help me keep an open mind. Replace my snap judgements with the curiosity of a kid. Help me to listen with my heart, and to couch my personal opinions. When it is time to make a decision, I pray that you would direct my thoughts and my actions to lead me in the way that will be the most helpful to you and my fellows.