Language makes us believe that we are either ‘open’ or not. Yet openness, like most other things, is better understood as a continuum than a yes-or-no-quality.
Completely closed off = I don’t want to know anything or listen to anyone when it comes to this topic
Closed off = I will only listen if it confirms everything I already believe
Tolerant = I will listen to what you have to say, but I have no real intention of changing myself and the best I can do for you is to not say anything bad about you.
Open = I will listen and then try to make an analysis that is as objective as possible pointing out the good and the bad.
Appreciative = I will listen patiently because I truly want to learn something and change how I relate to the subject and I believe you can help me. The ideas I don’t like I will simply box away for the moment.
Loving = I am absolutely convinced that you have love and light to offer even if I don’t understand your point of view or you are unable to articulate it.
This is not just the case for openness but other qualities such as forgiveness or gratitude as well. How open are you with whom and in what situation?