How do you feel when your versions of reality are challenged?
It depends a lot on what you mean by "my version" of reality. In going through mediation right now, there's a lot of people saying, "that's just your version of reality" about facts, which I get pretty offended about. For instance, when I say, "X dollars were earned by our family. Here is documentation to show that," I expect people to accept it unless they have documentation that shows differently, which I will then consider. What I do not agree with is the kind of statement that starts out, "Well, I feel your documents are wrong," without any actual explanations.
So I guess in short, I feel offended when my version of reality is challenged but not explained; if a challenge is accompanied by explanation and maybe documentation or proof of some kind, then I am okay with it and am more than willing to look at the new suggestions. In other words, "just because" is not an acceptable challenge of my reality.
Do you say, "I don't believe that!" before you listen carefully?
I'm sure I do say that sometimes, but I don't think I'm prone to it. Whether in religion, politics, or family relationships, I try very hard to listen to everyone's point of view while formulating my own opinions. If I do not believe something (or conversely DO believe something), it's almost always for a reason. Either I have personally experienced something, researched it, or had it explained to me adequately in the past. On the rare occasion I manage to blast out that I don't believe something before listening, I like to think I listen well after the outburst.
What does it mean to you to have an open mind?
To have an open mind is to be open and willing to seek and hear new ideas and thoughts and methods. If someone does something a different way than you, you need to evaluate it and decide if it works for you, and why or why not. It is NOT jumping to conclusions or making assumptions about right or wrong. If you are exposed to a new idea, you need to think it through rather than accepting or dismissing out of hand.
When do you feel the need to defend your point of view?
Generally speaking, I feel the need to defend myself and my point of view when other people are telling me I'm wrong, as opposed to telling me how they do something. When my sis came into my life and explained she was a Christian, she didn't shove it in my face or get nasty or throw pamphlets at me; instead she lived her life and showed me that Christians weren't all bad. She didn't say I was wrong for believing different; she said that it was right for her. I don't need to defend against that, because all I can do is expand my own knowledge base. On the other hand, the times I've run into people telling me that my belief is wrong and theirs is right, I've gotten offended, upset, or sometimes even verbally aggressive. I don't mind being told or shown that there's another way to do something, but I highly dislike being told that my way is just plain wrong.
Have you questioned the beliefs you were taught as a child?
Sure I have! I was taught that religion was a crutch, that people who believed in God were spiritual nuts that had a loose grip on reality, and that if you went to church you were just stupid. I questioned that as early as 10 or 11 years of age, and it only got worse from there. I went so far as to sneak out of the house to practice religion behind my parents' backs, knowing I'd be punished if they caught me.