In the last several months, my life has been one of change…a lot of change! Much of these changes have come about from my own curiosity and volition. But it hasn’t all been so easy.
As I head down a specific path, I see so many doors on either side of me that lead to other related topics. (For example, as I was seeking better health, that led to information on vaccinations, chemicals in products, cloth diapering, veganism, minimalism and organic foods.)
Some of these side topics that I’ve been exploring, I’m extremely interested in. Therefore it’s easy for me to open that door. And some topics I’m just not sure about. Some topics I’m uncomfortable with broaching and I’m rather reluctant to open. But I do anyway, because I want to continue growing and becoming the best version of myself I can be.
What I’ve learned in the last few short months about change is that it’s a good thing if I’m vulnerable to it. While we often think of vulnerability as a negative thing, it’s something that allows for more honesty in our lives. And more honesty can lead to personal growth.
1. Have an open mind toward new things.
I’m a black and white person with very little room for grey areas in life. That’s my personality. I realize that the world doesn’t operate this way so I have a much to overcome when it comes to being a stickler for things.
I have often “written things off” because of prejudice and perceived knowledge. And because of that I’ve missed out. If I didn’t grow up “that way” or if I’d never heard of doing something “that way” or if it seemed too strange to my culture, I would dismiss the idea or fact.
Oftentimes labels conjure up in someone’s mind a set of baggage that is associated with it: minimalism, veganism, republicans, Christianity, existentialism, etc. (All of those have a dark side) And I allowed the baggage, the hearsay, the perceived knowledge I thought I had about a subject to determine my knowledge and involvement with that subject.
I didn’t have an open mind. I didn’t want to think about certain topics because that would mean that I could be wrong, I would have to do some soul-searching and research, and it might upset my tidy, little bubble of a world.
I’m pleased to say that my mind has opened up a bit. I’m proud to say that my bubble has been upset a bit and that I’m okay!
Having an open mind has allowed me to learn more about my vast world and the ideas of those people that live in it.
2. Realize that vulnerability is a good thing.
Contrary to popular belief that vulnerability is a negative thing, it actually aids personal growth. If people were more honest with each other, where would we be?
Being honest with people (with whom you can be honest with and who will not use it against you) takes exercise. With those people that you do feel safe with sharing your heart, do it! It makes for deeper relationships and more meaningful conversation. I have personally grown by leaps and bounds just by opening my heart to people in order to learn and get advice about a topic.
Being vulnerable to people and new ideas that have crossed my path has been one of the most beneficial exercises I’ve done! While vulnerability is “putting yourself out there” with people, it’s also being courageous.
The world will tell you to close up your heart and protect yourself. But I believe that has only led to a more suspicious and loner culture.
3. Purposely broaden your horizon.
I believe that this point is passive and also intentional. But both are still done purposely.
By my simply being open to new ideas when they have crossed my path, I’ve opened myself up to growth. Any new thing I learn is growth. I may not value it or consider it valid or agree with it, but I have learned. I like this approach to broadening my horizon because it’s easy; it’s allowing things to float by my peripheral view and not immediately reject it (or accept it).
Intentionally broadening my horizon takes more work. In this case, I decide on a topic that I want to know more about, and I find books or videos that will aid me. Recently I’ve been learning about things that are out of my comfort zone. And I do this because I want to be more informed and I’m often curious about why people do or think certain things. An “easyish” way to do this is listen to TED Talks!
4. Change things up to keep life interesting.
Life is now! It’s happening right now whether you’re ready for it or not! And while we all know this, we don’t live like we know it.
Hubby and I try to live intentionally. We plan activities together because we know that this time isn’t going to come around again. Life is what we make it.
So for us going to museums is a bit different. Taking family walks in the evenings isn’t our usual bag. But we try to spice things up and keep it interesting. Because life is now. Waiting for something to come along that’s exciting and interesting isn’t logical. Make those exciting things happen!
Get that new haircut you’ve always admired. Plan a few non-traditional dinner meals. Change up the furniture placement. Plan a family outing that’s different from your normal outings. Read a book not in your comfort zone. Invite friends to your house for dinner.
I’ve found that Hubby and I have to be intentional about changing up. Because it’s easy to be comfortable, it takes work to plan. But I’m always so glad that we did!
While the changes in my life have recently involved health, these thoughts could be applied to any situation!