How willing are you to change your mind? Your heart?

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

I’m always a bit fascinated about what causes us to change our minds?  We finally try the food that we’ve never thought we would like only to discover we like it after all.  We avoid certain speakers or writers, because we wonder what good can come from that person, only to discover that we have something in common with the person.   We avoid activities or events or travel because of the large crowds or distances, later to learn that the activity or place becomes one of our favorites.

So, when I saw an article in the Akron Beacon Journal, “Why some people don’t change their minds?” I was caught.  Writer, Cass R Sunstein, begins with a quiz, “How attractive do you think you are on a scale of 1 to 10?”  He goes on to note that if you choose say a 5 and someone tells you they think you are a 7, you might actually raise your own estimation of yourself.  However, if someone tells you that you are, in their estimation, only a 3, you may be less likely to believe them and less likely to change your own estimation of yourself.  His point is that people are often more willing to change their opinions after receiving good news than after receiving bad news.

You can read more of the article at the link below, but the connection to my life as a Dominican Sister of Peace is the often challenging call, invitation, commitment we made with one another in the prologue to our Chapter Commitments, when we said we would be “Radically open to ongoing conversion into the peace of Christ…”  (https://oppeace.org/who-we-are/our-commitments/)  I sometimes think I am a very open-minded person, but I’m aware of many times when I don’t want to see or hear news or ideas with which I strongly disagree.  I’m aware that asking curious questions is often a way to process through a bias, if I can stay focused long enough to ask the questions without getting defensive.

Sunstein also noted two other common aspects of those willing to change their minds – they are willing to hear from a variety of perspectives, and secondly, they are more likely to accept bad news if they receive the news from someone they trust or like.  Maybe this is how we help each other as Dominicans by listening to perspectives from many people and by asking our friends to walk with us and listen to us as we hear bad news?

As Dominicans we were founded on Dominic’s commitment to searching for the truth within each and every person.  We are called to this search, and as we do so, may we listen, search for the value beneath an opinion that doesn’t match our own, and support each other in hearing both the good and the not-so-good news, so that we can fully become women and men of Christ’s peace built on love, justice, compassion, and mercy.   We need God’s grace, our willingness, and each other to live our lives radically open to ongoing conversion….

If you are interested in learning more about Dominican life and about the upcoming Come and See weekend, please click here. https://oppeace.org/respond-gods-call-discernment-weekend/  or here to contact one of our vocation ministers.   https://oppeace.org/become-a-sister/

Click here to read Cass R. Sunstein’s article, “There’s a Glimmer of Good News about Fake News.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-29/there-s-a-glimmer-of-good-news-about-fake-news

Posted in God Calling?, News

3 responses to “How willing are you to change your mind? Your heart?

  1. Cathy, Thank you for the prod in your thought. I find that “leaving go” of my “truth” difficult at times because the “I” gets so determined over certain issues. I suspect that fear has something to do with it and try to ask the question (If I allow myself) “What is it you fear here?” Sometimes that helps. . .sometimes!

  2. Enjoyed your reflection about the effects of good news. Certainly would help our world if we reflected and responded positively whenever it is possible.

  3. Thanks for this blog Cathy. Well done ! In today’s climate we certainly need to be diligent about our search for truth.

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