The proverb curiosity killed the cat warns against being inquisitive. However, if we want to have healthy relationships curiosity is a prerequisite. A lack of curiosity is much more dangerous. Curiosity is not referring to prying into other people’s business. The definition I am using is having the curiosity to know (to look within) self and how having this knowledge will help transform difficult relationships.
People consult me when their lives are not working because they:
- feel unhappy
- worry excessively
- do not like their job
- are having marital issues
- have kids that are misbehaving
- feel lonely,
- are have feelings of inadequacy
- feel anxious
- feel overwhelmed
- feel unappreciated
- feel they cannot take it anymore
To be curious about your self is a lifelong process. There are no short cuts that are effective; this means there are no short cuts that work. The short cuts are what get you into trouble with yourself. Here are some popular short cuts:
- It’s easier to do it myself.
- I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings.
- I don’t want to be rejected.
- I don’t know what I want.
- Nobody will listen to me.
- I just want to feel something.
- I don’t want to feel disappointment.
- If he/she would only change.
- If I move then everything will be better.
- It’s all his/her fault.
- I’m to blame for everything.
One thing all these shortcuts have in common is the belief: It’s not okay to be curious about your thoughts, feelings or actions. Curiosity requires the willingness to listen to your self-talk. Our actions do not occur in a vacuum. Before we act, we have had thoughts and feelings. Many times these thoughts and feelings are on automatic pilot and we are unconscious (not aware) of the actual dialog we are having with our self.
If you listened in you might hear something like this: “He’s so pig-headed and stubborn. He’s just out for himself. He doesn’t care about anyone, but himself.” You might then notice that you are feeling angry towards this person. Then you hear yourself say, “I’m just not going to meet his schedule, too bad about his schedule.” In this person’s mind the feeling of anger is justified and they decide they are not going to cooperate in meeting the schedule.
So, be curious about your thoughts and feelings; your relationships depend upon it.
Next week, 6 steps on how to practice being curious.