Openness is being honest, clear, sincere, sharing who we are and what we feel without pretense. It is the willingness to consider new ideas and listen to others with an open mind. We reveal our thoughts candidly without attempting to manage the responses of others. We hold no hidden agendas. We are more interested in connecting than controlling. We listen to others’ feelings with compassionate curiosity. When we are open, we are receptive to the blessings and surprises of life.

In Family Life

In a family, the virtue of Openness manifests as a culture of transparent communication, active listening, and a genuine willingness to share thoughts, feelings, and concerns. It’s demonstrated through family members valuing and respecting each other’s perspectives, even when they differ, and creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment.

Openness also involves sharing both positive and challenging experiences, fostering a sense of unity through shared vulnerability. In this kind of family, discussions about important decisions, emotions, and even conflicts are approached with empathy and a desire to understand, allowing for growth, compromise, and a deeper connection among all members.


To open deeply, as genuine spiritual life requires, we need tremendous courage and strength, a kind of warrior spirit.

— Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart

 The Practice of Openness

  • I am honest and transparent.
  • I am direct and candid in sharing my perspective.
  • I appreciate new ideas and possibilities.
  • I sincerely want to communicate.
  • I have no hidden motives.
  • I care about the views and feelings of others.
  • I am willing to receive life’s bounties.

Balancing Openness

To maintain a healthy and harmonious sense of Openness, several virtues come into play:

      • Discernment: This virtue helps us differentiate between what should be shared openly and what should remain private. It ensures that we don’t overshare or make ourselves vulnerable inappropriately.
      • Trust: Trust is essential in building meaningful connections. It encourages us to be open to others and assume positive intentions, fostering an environment where Openness can flourish.
      • Empathy: Empathy enables us to listen to others with compassionate curiosity, as mentioned in the description of Openness. It helps us genuinely understand and connect with people, even when their views differ.
      • Boundaries: Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial to preventing the overextension of Openness. It allows us to protect our personal space and well-being while still engaging openly with others.
      • Resilience: The ability to handle potential negative responses or unexpected reactions is vital in maintaining Openness. Resilience helps us bounce back from adverse outcomes and remain sincere and honest.

Openness is a valuable virtue that promotes honest and sincere communication; it is essential to strike a balance. Overdeveloped Openness can lead to vulnerability, while underdeveloped Openness can hinder meaningful connections. By cultivating virtues like discernment, trust, empathy, boundaries, and resilience, we can ensure that our Openness remains a source of connection, growth, and understanding.