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When is the Right Time to Broaden Our Horizons?

A Personal Perspective: How letting go of preconceived notions can serve us.

Key points

  • The limiting thoughts many of us develop can be a result of the internet and its algorithms not offering as much variety as they should.
  • Open mindedness can help us embrace other elements of life that we might initially shun out of habit.
  • By broadening our perspectives on even seemingly small things, we invite our brains to do the same in other areas of our lives.
 Daniil Komov, Pexels
Source: Daniil Komov, Pexels

On a recent weekend night, while parking a car in a downtown lot, I saw a rat scurrying along a cement wall. I initially recoiled, mentally.

Then something strange washed over me.

Realizing that the rat wasn’t threatening me or anything nearby, I was able to see how beautiful this rat was in his (or her) own way.

It was very cold outside. This rat was kind of fluffy. And I thought to myself, this rat isn’t vile or evil or any of the attributes I’ve often associated with rats. This rat was doing what the rest of us do… Trying to find warmth food and live his or her best life. I felt compassion for the rat and even joked to my husband that the rat (who I instantly named Sherwood) would be my next foster.

Up till now, I’ve only fostered baby kittens and sick or feral cats. Never a rat. My husband laughed nervously. He’s never sure if I’m joking or not about what I’m going to foster. And he’s not wrong to be wary.

So often, we forget that we are in wildlife's space. Not vice versa. Our homes. Our businesses. Our vehicles. All existing in places where animals used to thrive before we entered and made it our own. So trying to coexist or to show compassion feels right to me.

I’m not preaching here. I’m not getting political. I’m not even telling anyone reading this what they should believe or which kinds of creatures, in our extensive animal kingdom, they should care about. I’m simply choosing to make more room in my heart for loving all creatures, great and small. And I would hope this open-mindedness will help me embrace other elements of life that I might initially shun out of habit.

Can I care about someone who disagrees with me politically? Yes, I can. (And no, I make no correlation between people on the other side of the political fence and rats. Although if I did, at this point, it would be a compliment.)

By broadening our perspective on even seemingly small things, subjects, or creatures, we invite our brains to do the same in other areas of our lives. The single-lane highways (regarding thought) that many of us live in due to the internet and its algorithms do not offer as much variety as they should. So it’s up to us to seek out other viewpoints now and then. Even, perhaps, starting with a random rodent.

I wish Sherwood the rat a long and happy existence. And I thank him for helping me step away from a preconceived notion, which reminds me that I—and perhaps others reading this—can do so regarding other areas of life we might have previously been stubborn with.

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