Openness – What you see is what you get!

I  am an open book.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, I have no poker face and I struggle to hide or disguise how I feel. My involuntary bodily and facial reactions to BS have landed me in some sticky situations, especially during departmental meetings earlier on in my career.

I am that person who smiles and says hello to everyone in the school corridor. I am that colleague who would sing your praises and celebrate your accomplishments and let the whole school know how much I appreciate you. I am also that weirdo who says hello to bus drivers and to that nervous face at an event. Some of my deepest conversations have been with strangers I ended up striking a conversation with. Some would say I am a social butterfly and a light of sunshine, others might not understand my openness and view it as insincere. Then there is my husband who thinks I am bonkers.

I decided early on in my life that I was going to be open to the world, to people, to new experiences and to life in general. My body, mind and soul have benefited from my openness to other people’s cultures, beliefs, countries and customs. There is something heartwarming and humbling when others recognise your open heart and embrace your openness by inviting you into their world, homes, weddings and families. My openness has blessed me with a diverse circle of friends, tribes and chosen families from different cultures and ethnicities. This has truly enriched my life, my palate, my music taste and outlook on life.

In writing this blog I took ‘The Big Five Personality Test’, which is an assessment  measuring personality on five major dimensions: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. And as I suspected, I scored very high on openness. According to the Five Factor Model, people who are high in this personality trait are:  intellectually curious, innovative, appreciate art, like theories, adventurous, imaginative and aware of their feelings. Although I am quite skeptical of these type models, I am pleasantly surprised of how well this description of ‘openness’ fits my traits and life. 

As a mother, I make a conscious effort to create an open home filled with love and honesty. We welcome open conversations, model how to acknowledge each others’ feelings and be aware of our own. We encourage intellectual curiosity and continuously work on how to embrace our quirks and celebrate our uniqueness. This is an ongoing journey but I believe openness has helped us raise great kids who are kind and sensitive human beings that empathise with others and would often put themselves last. However, we are currently working on finding that delicate balance of being selfless and selfish. And although our kids are thriving academically, they are creatives at heart: writing poetry, short stories as well as learning to play an instrument. 

I believe ‘openness’ is the key to a fuller and more fulfilling life experiences. Imagine not being open to learning, not being open to difference, not being open to receiving what the universe or GOD has in store for you.

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