I have a confession to make. There’s a breed of dog that used to annoy me. A lot.
People I knew loved this breed of dog. People on the internet praised the breed’s adorableness. Apparently, the breed is smart and clever in addition to being “cute.”
I didn’t find the dogs cute. I couldn’t have cared less if they were smart enough to drive me to work. I was polite when I saw them while grimacing inwardly. I just didn’t like them.
But what I really didn’t like was the fact that I didn’t like them.
I dug deep and tried to pinpoint what it was that I actually didn’t like about them.
The dogs were often, at least as far as I knew about them, adored and praised by snobby, rich, white people. There was an elitism attached to them that made me shiver.
And as a result, I think I was associating them with that same sort of snobbery. Which is ridiculous. They’re dogs!
I love all animals. How could I even make those associations about the dogs? The dogs were not elitists themselves, even if they were often owned by annoying people.
But plenty of non-annoying, non-elite, non-rich, non-white people owned and loved these dogs, too—so my internal argument against them was going nowhere.
How I changed my mind
I was so annoyed that these dogs annoyed me that I set out to change my mind about them.
I searched out memes, GIFs, and images of the breed. I bought a sticker pack of illustrations of the dogs doing human things like drinking coffee and placed the stickers in my daily planner.
Every time I saw one, I told myself, They’re actually pretty cute!
I stuck to it. It took a while to get over the shiver. I embraced the feeling of imposter syndrome, that I was somehow lying to myself.
But the reality was that I was no longer lying to myself. I was allowing myself, instead, to be present with the dogs and to let all the associations I’d forced upon them in my mind to unravel and fade away.
I stayed in the moment with whatever feelings came up, and the annoyance always passed. Then I sat with the non-annoyance. The feeling of being okay with these dogs.
And gradually, over time, all resentment and annoyance I had for these dogs faded into oblivion.
Now, when I see them, I smile and feel happy, and yes—loving—toward them.
I’ve grown out of my dislike of the dogs and grown into a deep appreciation for their smarts, cleverness, and adorableness. My opinion has shifted, probably for good.
Changing your mind can change your world
It’s weird to think back on when I used to dislike those dogs. What’s weirder is to think that I could have lived my whole life not liking a whole breed of dog just because I’d made some completely ridiculous associations.
This blog post isn’t meant to be a huge metaphor for something extremely deep, but it can be useful to remember that it’s always possible to change your mind about something.
When that thing is connected to a belief, like a religious or political one, that shift might take a lot more personal insight and professional help from a good therapist.
When that thing is an opinion that’s petty or doesn’t improve your world at all, changing your mind about it can be a step forward on your path of growth, maturity, and wisdom.
As you make your way through the world, see if you can pinpoint some areas where changing your mind about something might improve your mindset, your relationships, your career, your finances, or your life in general.
It might take some time, but the only person who owns your consciousness is you. Taking care of your mind—and the opinions that live in it—is one part of the path to living a well-rounded, peaceful, healthy, and happy life.
It should go without saying, but please note this advice does not apply if you’re in a dangerous situation. “Changing your mind” is not a replacement for professional medical or mental health assistance. Also, if you’re being abused or seeking to self-harm, please reach out immediately to professionals and other resources who can help.