When clients come to see me they are often smack in the middle of a dilemma, challenge, conflict – with someone else or within themselves. In this state, things can feel confusing. We can even begin to dig in our heels and get stuck in a particular way of seeing something.
This is a perfect time for some stepping back to widen the perspective. If the conflict/challenge is with another person, it’s helpful to step right into their shoes. Of course this is something we’ve heard again and again, but how often do you really do it? How often do you ask, “What might be going on for this person right now?” or “What do they think or believe deep down?”
When the conflict/challenge is within ourselves, we can still widen the perspective. We can ask other questions, such as “What would a future version of myself (the person I want to be) do, think, say about this situation?” or “What can I open up to right now that would allow in more clarity?”
Beyond these ways we can use Openness individually, there’s a way we can use it on a bigger scale. Right now our world is starving for Openness – it is something that allows each of us to get past the things that might scare us about something or someone. Some people find things that threaten their values frightening. When you can stand in Openness and know that nothing anyone does or says can affect your foundation, there is so much room for acceptance, Openness and compassion.
I think of myself as an open person. I know that 18 years living abroad nurtured that in me. It’s helpful and healthy, in my mind, to be in a place with ‘new’ rules, new attitudes, new norms, new concepts, new words for things that don’t exist in our own language. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with these new things or even completely understand them. But being open to them, letting them exist within you, can help with the understanding. It can also help you understand yourself more deeply.
Despite my friendliness with Openness, I still know it is a practice to keep it as my trusted ally. It’s easy to let it disappear, and in that way sink into old ways – those familiar thoughts, the comfortable ways of being. It’s also easy to think someone else is wrong because they think so differently than me. Those thoughts just bring an air of stuck-ness and divisiveness. Instead, Openness allows me to listen and to hear.
With Openness, there is compassion and an air of allowing. There’s room to expand. There is a willingness to listen and not feel threatened or afraid. There is a desire for understanding. When we allow that freedom of openness, there’s a level of peace, of acceptance – there’s no need to push back or try to convince others of our own beliefs. We are standing strong. Are you standing strong? Are you Open?