In my opinion, pretty much one of the worst qualities that someone can have is to be close minded. When you narrow your viewpoint so much so that you only see and hear the things YOU want to hear so that YOUR opinions will be validated, you’re just really doing yourself a disservice. Also, that’s incredibly dangerous. You come off as dogmatic and overbearing (in the worst possible way). People are not going to want to listen to you. You’ll end up being able to convince yourself of untruths.

It is so so so important to expose ourselves to ideas and notions and ways of life that are different from our own. Someone once told me that I should, “do things that scare me”. I was telling this person about something I didn’t feel like I could do because it was just so incredibly scary to me, and he replied with that little pearl of wisdom that has become my internal mantra when I’m trying to get the guts up to make a leap or even a small step that seems scary and impossible : when I’m about to do something that will make me uncomfortable.

You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. You have to question your own beliefs and priorities. Change is such a hard thing for so many people – especially when it comes to even considering changing our minds about our beliefs and mindset and worldview.

How do you do that? How do you open your mind? I feel like its a pretty simple endeavor. Something as small as opening up who you follow in your newsfeed on social media. Follow some people that make you cringe and make you uncomfortable. Go places where there will be people that live different lives from your own which can be as easy as taking your kids to a park in a part of town. Educate yourself on different religions and lifestyles and cultures.

After a while, you may find yourself to be a different person. You may find yourself to be the same person. Either way – you’ll be a better person for the exposure.

Kindness and consideration go such a long way. If you can just open yourself up to someone else. If you can just manage to see things from their point of view. You’ll find it easier to be kind and considerate.

Our differences make us beautiful. Our differences make this world we live in a much more interesting place.

Often times, our differences define and divide us – but how amazing would it be if we could learn to appreciate and value each other’s differences instead. How great would it be to not run from something that makes us uncomfortable but to look at it in the face and dive right in – for better or worse.

Admittedly – I’m the WORST at getting outside of my comfort zone. I love a routine and I love knowing exactly what to expect which is why I’ve made it a thing to constantly challenge myself. Especially with the way I think about the people and world around me.

— Ashley