I know, you are probably thinking, “What do you want a cookie?” For almost my entire life, I have despised fish of any kind. I’m not sure what it was. It wasn’t necessarily the taste, maybe it was the texture, but it just wasn’t for me. So I held to this rule of fish = bad throughout my entire life. I may have had the occasional tuna salad, but that’s about as far as it went. If fish was for dinner, my nose went up in the air and I found myself something else. Last night, I was doing the same thing. I cooked catfish for everyone else, some hush puppies and french fries and I made myself a salad. I grabbed my salad and a few hush puppies. I ate my salad and it was delicious, but something told me that I had to let go of my closed-mindedness and try the fish. So I grabbed a small piece and another hush puppy (I can’t resist those). I tried that small piece of fish and it dawned on me that it didn’t taste half bad. In fact, it was kind of good. I soon went after the other small piece of fish that I had left behind.
So what’s the moral of this boring story? We can’t simply close our minds and our eyes and just accept what we’ve always believed to be true. I truly hated fish at one point. Even the smell would initiate my gag reflex. Last night, I decided to open my mind, eyes and taste buds to give something a try again. It worked to my benefit! I enjoyed it! Closed-mindedness gets no one anywhere. We have to be open to all possibilities even if they challenge our previous beliefs. That’s what helps us grow as human beings. That’s what keeps us from being stuck. It’s what keeps us from filling our hearts with hate instead of love.We have to be open to the world around us even if it scares us or have it in our heads what the outcome may be.
Yes, an epiphany from catfish. It dawned on me as I woke this morning and I started to wonder what else is holding me back. What else haven’t I tried that I need to? Who else have I judged prematurely? I believe that closed-mindedness is one of the ultimate human flaws that hold us back from being the people we need to be. It holds us back from seeing the truth or experiencing new things. It is the core of the stigma against mental illness. You had to know I was going there. It prevents empathy because it blinds people from seeing the mentally ill as people and instead puts some other image in their head. It isn’t just the stigma of mental illness. It’s homophobia. It’s blindly following a certain political party or leader. It’s not standing for the issues at hand and instead of keeping your eyes and mind closed to what’s really going on in the world around you. It’s in denying climate change and the impact we as human beings are having upon it. This list is a mile long when it comes to closed-mindedness. We must open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts in order to succeed as a society and a human race. There is no way around it.