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The Practical Guide on Changing Your Mind

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| July 5, 2022

Being able to change your mind is a healthy and positive trait. Here are ways to allow yourself the space to change your mind.

If you had never changed your mind, imagine where your life would be today.

You might be stuck in an unhappy and unsatisfying career. Perhaps, even with the wrong partner in life.

Contrary to what some may say, you aren’t a flip-flopper and you aren’t indecisive. Being able to change your mind is actually a healthy and positive trait that says you are someone who is self-aware, curious and open-minded.

Having a change of heart also says you’re able to reflect on decisions you’ve made in your life and are strong enough to admit that perhaps you were wrong—that you’ve grown and evolved as a person.

It’s perfectly human to educate yourself, take in new information, contextualize it and change your opinion about something. Because the truth is the world is constantly changing, so why can’t you?

Let’s take a look at the ways in which you can allow yourself the space to change your mind.

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Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion, according to Kristin Neff, is the act of giving ourselves the same kindness and care we would give to a good friend.

Practicing self-compassion allows you to truly see yourself as a holistic person—flaws and all. That means the beliefs you hold today may not be the beliefs you hold tomorrow. And that’s ok.

Being open to admitting you were wrong about something is a key aspect of one’s emotional intelligence.

Practicing self-compassion allows you to explore changing your mind. Being gentle with yourself allows you to listen and learn from situations and life events that could lead to personal growth.

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Be Open to New Things and People

By opening yourself up to new experiences and new people, you are increasing your chances of expanding your mind and your opinions.

Before we can grow, we must be open to change.

Being open to change means discovering growth opportunities. Imagine how boring life would be if we never opened ourselves up to new people and experiences. Imagine who you would be.

One Doe writer discovered this at 16. After years of ingesting and regurgitating far-right propaganda, he began to expand his worldview and unlearn what he had been taught by far-right pundits on YouTube. It was by meeting more people and seeing new things that he began to understand the truth behind their “intolerant agendas.”

By constantly exploring and challenging yourself, you’re able to expand your intellectual and emotional growth, allowing yourself the opportunity to change your mind.

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Get Comfortable with Change

Some of us are better with change than others. 

While some people are able to roll with the changes that may come their way, there are others who experience fear, anxiety and dread with any kind of adjustment. 

Change usually acts as a synonym for “different”. Different can mean unfamiliar and uncomfortable. 

But it doesn’t have to. 

Transitions can bring up uncomfortable feelings, which is why so many people choose not to initiate any change in their life. It keeps things safe, comfortable and familiar. 

But what if instead of fearing uncomfortability, you were to allow yourself to explore the change?  Like one Doe author who explained how a trip to Rio de Janeiro gave them an epiphany: Confronting our own implicit bias can be challenging, but is essential to seeing life from a new lens. 

Instead of sitting with fear, you educate yourself and learn about what’s about to change, and the things you can do to make it work. 

Allowing yourself to adjust and explore, instead of resisting, can lead to a different experience altogether with change. Perhaps it will open your mind to shifting your thoughts and opinions as well. 

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Give Yourself Permission

Sometimes giving yourself the space to change your mind means giving yourself the permission to do so. This can be particularly challenging, especially if you’re softening views on longstanding beliefs you’ve had, like this Doe contributor who explains her journey from being an evolutionist to a creationist.

By allowing yourself to let go of something that isn’t serving you, whether it’s your vision of life, your morals, your ethics, your career, a partner or just your expectations of yourself, you are freeing yourself up to change your mind, and more importantly, fundamentally change your life.

It’s not just you. It’s your brain. 

Your brain is hardwired to avoid pain vs maximizing pleasure, meaning we will do anything we can to avoid feeling a loss.

But allowing yourself to sit with those feelings and realizing they won’t break you will bridge the space between the fear of change and making the change.

Psychotherapist Thais Sky says “Giving myself permission to change my mind, to be nimble and soft and receptive offers the gateway to an intimate dance with our truest path. It's a marvelous thing.”

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The Cost of Not Changing Your Mind

Culturally, we’re often taught that if we have already spent a lot of money or time on something, it’s best not to change our minds. It could be perceived as a sign of instability or failure.

But at what cost?

For those of us who have experienced the debilitating mental and physical effects of staying the course on something that no longer serves us in life, it means sacrificing your own happiness and satisfaction.

One Doe writer learned this the hard way after he chose to stay the course and keep his cushy but soul-sucking corporate job for 12 years. He was able to work remotely, was given a big salary and traveled often. But the cost was his mental and physical health. 

It wasn’t until he contemplated committing suicide that he realized he needed to change things, including his horrible job and the lifestyle that was slowly killing him.

He finally found the courage to pursue his dream of stand-up comedy, and he learned that comedy was his calling, his purpose. He was meant to make people laugh.

Had he not changed his mind about what his life was supposed to look like, he may not have realized his true happiness. 

Conclusion

Allowing yourself to change your mind not only frees you from the unrealistic expectations and pressures you may have placed on yourself, but it also allows you to embrace a growth mindset.

Once you gain a better understanding of your emotional reaction to change you, will be better prepared to look at change from a new perspective. 

Allowing yourself to change your mind may be the biggest act of self-compassion.

For more articles and guidance on navigating tricky life lessons from The Doe, check out some of these compelling narratives, and head to our site to explore more:

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