You’ve Got to Change Your Mind

X-ray type outlines of a man and a woman looking at each other with parts of their brains lit up in red and yellow

A young friend, a former colleague actually, told me this phrase as part of a teenage-hood anecdote. When she got upset about something she couldn’t do anything about, her Mother would say, “You’ve got to change your mind”. As someone who didn’t grow up with that kind of advice, I see its immense power and wisdom.

It’s been said many ways.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change….” The Serenity Prayer

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin

“Change your perspective and the world will change for you.” Shesh Nath Vernwal

Many people will nod their heads and agree. But how many put it into practice? How many move past an inner belief of how things “should” be and change their mind about how things are?

New Information

I’m listening to a wonderful podcast called High on Life with Dr. Sasha High. One of her colleagues recommended it to me. Dr. High is an obesity medicine physician. The episodes are short and to the point. She is changing my mind about food, weight, and how the brain works based on the latest research, one episode at a time.

How easy it would be to dismiss this recommendation because, I already know how it works. Calories in, calories out, shut your pie hole and lose weight. But believing it’s that simple is old-school thinking. There have been many breakthroughs in science that explain why diets fail and what’s going on mentally that we need to deal with first. Just look around. Many of us have issues with food and weight and if the solution was as easy as following a diet, we’d all be size 2. I needed to change my mind.

Another positive aspect to changing one’s mind is that it’s a way to go easier on yourself. If you can’t cure society’s ills, why allow your blood pressure to spike because of them? It doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you relinquish control – control you never had – and admit that the situation will unfold just fine without you. It’s liberating to decide to not have an opinion about something. Especially when the rest of the world seems caught up in defending theirs.

When Opinions are Permanent

It seems to me that many of the problems we as people are having right now have to do with an unwillingness to entertain new or conflicting information. Or a fundamental misunderstanding about how things work. The mind’s made up and it closes the door. Imagine if everyone stayed open to believing they could be wrong? If we didn’t invest ourselves so deeply in our opinions. And if everyone understood that they’re seeing the world through their own personal lenses, not as it truly is. Everyone. There needs to be room in life for, “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure”.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

I thought about this as I watched what happened in Ottawa and around the country. Noticing the death grips some have on their belief that one (repeatedly democratically elected) person is responsible for all the ills in their lives. And that someone else in the same role could fix them all. Minds are made up. Doors closed. Opportunities squandered. So much damn noise. It seems to me that many people of varying beliefs still have a child’s view of how things work. Their opinions need to grow up.

Life is not black and white, good or evil, for us or against us. When you stay open to new, legitimate information and adjust your world-viewing lens accordingly, you see good and bad in both sides of almost everything – with obvious exceptions. But first of all, before anything else, you have to be willing to change your mind.

1 thought on “You’ve Got to Change Your Mind”

  1. I’ll share a personal experience. Having had my sight into my early 20’s, I very much am a visual person. I see, perceive and see things much like a sighted person but I now translate them, living in the world often referred to as “thinking outside the box”, I live there others simply visit from time to time. After the loss of my sight I took time to reflect and discovered that I truly didn’t learn to see until I lost my sight, for I am know longer blinded by my sight, due to perception bias and blind ignorance.

    Changing ones mind is great in concept, sucks in reality! If I’m a person who uses a wheelchair and the curbs aren’t cut, changing my mind isn’t going to allow me to get on/off the sidewalk.

    We as human beings, perceive symptoms as problems and thus set out to resolve the symptom not the problem and spend our lives cutting the heads off dandelions only to have them grow back.

    I’m all for change, but sometimes change can be so well wrapped and presented, that what is perceived as change is only another garden path.

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