Why Open-Mindedness is Important

Are we all mental prisoners?

By Jini Li
January 16, 2017
Radiant Acquiescence Website - Virtues - Open-Mindedness - Image of a peach shaded rose over a peach shaded sunset over ocean with caption "Open-Mindedness, Why is it Important?"When a person attains the virtue of open-mindedness, they also practice the virtues of acceptance, flexibility, forgiveness, listening, understanding, patience, humility, courtesy, cooperation, observing, trust, trustworthiness, supportiveness, detachment, awareness, honoring, acknowledging and giving. But why is open-mindedness important in and of itself?

Open-mindedness as a virtue is multi-faceted and speaks to a both a person’s internal and external environments. Without open-mindedness, internal conflict can arise and situations can lack meaning and purpose. Practicing open-mindedness is allowing to both yourself and to others.

Open-mindedness permits a person to be self-forgiving, self-trusting, self-supportive and aware. Open-mindedness prevents a person from being self-critical and self-blaming. It prevents guilt from taking root. It opens a person up to a myriad of possibilities. When people are open-minded with themselves, they experience peace of mind and contentment, love and acceptance. Open-mindedness requires people to overcome ego.

Radiant Acquiescence - Virtues - Open-Mindedness - Photo of the backs of two children walking down a road together with sister's arm around siblingOpen-mindedness causes a person to value the opinions of others and to exercise tolerance, if not patience, when listening to or observing another person. The open-minded person can acknowledge that another person’s viewpoint is legitimate – if not from the listener’s perspective, then quite possibly from the speaker’s perspective. They are interested in new ideas and experiences, and do not have a need to insist, to control or to shut out the opinions of others. People with open-mindedness are comfortable allowing ideas to flow freely. With open-mindedness, a person recognizes that to learn, one must assume the humble stance of ignorance. Just as a full room has no space for anything new, occupied mind space has no room for different or new concepts.

When a person is open-minded, they honor the fact that truth is not always immediately apparent, and that understanding may require deeper contemplation. They accept that even though they may not understand something immediately, this does not mean they won’t understand it moments later.

Radiant Acquiescence - Virtues - Open-Mindedness - Photo of person over cliffs with a banner reading "Keep Exploring"An open-minded person waits before they draw conclusions. They try to gain a thorough understanding about everything that pertains to a subject before making deductions. They hold their tongue, and are reluctant to speak poorly of another, because they know there could be information of which they are yet unaware. Information that could change the whole picture.

Open-mindedness creates cohesion between people. It binds people by means of building trust. If you are speaking to a person you recognize as being open-minded, you feel comfortable to speak your mind. You trust that the open-minded person will not misunderstand you or jump to conclusions, because the open-minded person listens with the intent of trying to understand your true meaning.

Open-minded individuals have an ability to remain neutral. They do not take a stance for or against people, ideas or circumstances without due consideration of all factors. They are observant. These people are like a balance. They weigh the pros and cons without being emotionally attached to an outcome. Truly open-minded people do not have expectations one way or another, because they are truly unbiased. They are not colored by love or by hate. Their judgements are not based on favoritism or discrimination.

Radiant Acquiescence - Virtues - Open-Mindedness - Photo of stacked rocks keeping balanceOpen-mindedness is a strength that requires impartiality. Some people might think that impartiality signals a lack of resolution one way or the other. However, it takes a lot of inner strength to speak an unbiased truth knowing that the information may not be what people want to hear. It takes comparable inner strength to let go of something and to stand up for something. An impartial person will be able to see the difference between truth and falsity and recognize when to let go and when to speak up. Letting go may require an admission that one’s opinion is erroneous, and a willingness to reevaluate with new input. This is strength indeed.

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The Virtue Acceptance

Go to Examples of Personal Development Page

Learning to Exemplify Self-Acceptance


Radiant Acquiescence Website - Virtues - Acceptance - picture of large body of water with background mountains and sky reflected on the water and the caption Radiant AcquiescenceBy Jini Li, January 13, 2017

When a person has attained the virtue of acceptance, they exercise other virtues, too, like awareness, generosity, consideration, flexibility, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance, supportiveness, understanding, patience, trust, trustworthiness, love and compassion.

Acceptance as a virtue has two environmental facets. One is an acceptance of people; the other is an acceptance of circumstances.

Practicing acceptance with people is synonymous with practicing love. It’s accepting a person regardless of what they have done. When a person practices acceptance of another person, the other person feels acknowledged and adequate. It’s like a boost of confidence and self-assurance. Acceptance builds self-esteem. Acceptance embraces.

Acceptance of circumstances is accomplishable by being able to see things from multiple perspectives, and understanding that there are always aspects that remain unseen. This understanding allows the person peace of mind, and a gentle and generous nature. They are foreseeing and forgiving. They are like a well-rooted tree in a storm, sure and steadfast. They face adversity calmly with avid trust and confidence.

Radiant Acquiescence Website - Virtues - Acquiescence - Photo of waterfallA person who practices acceptance does not waste energy on resistance or fighting. This person sees the end in the beginning, and sees present circumstances as transitional. They see all people as a part of the whole, and every person is equal to the next. Differences do not vex a person who has mastered acceptance. On the contrary, an accepting person appreciates differences. They are undisturbed by happenings in the world and differences in opinion. They understand that truth always rises to the surface. The virtue of acceptance is not synonymous with apathy or indifference. It does not mean that a person does not have an opinion. Rather, it recognizes a time and a place for everything. Acceptance is active, positive energy.

Acceptance is like acquiescence. The summer acquiesces to the fall.  The fall to the winter, and the winter to the spring. Acquiescence is recognition of the transitional, changing nature of all things. It is knowing that everything that happens contains a lesson, however wrong or meaningless it may seem at the time.

Radiant Acquiescence Website - Virtues - Acceptance - picture of autumn trees over water falling over rocks into a pool of water in a creek

Without acceptance, without acquiescence, a person who reluctantly resigns to circumstances and people harbors resentment and impatience. This causes a person to become apathetic and to feel helpless and disappointed. These feelings can fester and come out in different forms, such as passive aggressive behavior.

Acceptance requires perception with freedom from bias, and an ability to see reality and not despise it. In this recognition, people will do what comes natural to them, but without acting forcefully. It can be likened unto a moderator. It neutralizes disdain and counterbalances hate. It balances unstable emotions. It calms.

Practicing acceptance yields the ability to be non-reactive and non-defensive. It causes people to think before they act and consider long-reaching, smarter, more effective and efficient responses to people and circumstances. Acceptance allows things to transpire naturally.

Acceptance disputes denial. It forces us to accept the reality of our situation. It causes us to respond to an unwanted situation with, “Alright. I didn’t want this to happen, but it did. This is where I am now.” Accepting present conditions provides a place from which to move forward.

Acceptance prevents resentment. When a person is unable to accept something or someone, it is often because of a personal preconception. If another person does something that someone has preconceived as being negative, it can cause that someone to begin to feel resentment towards the other person and may even result in aggression. Looking at positive aspects of the person or situation can help turn reluctance to accept into acceptance.

Acceptance encompasses self-acceptance without allowing self-pity or becoming defined by traumatic events. Acceptance helps us move forward from where we are and who we are.