I have found curiosity to be a very helpful emotion. I remember listening to someone get coached. She was upset because her son would come and punch her arm, like he would do with his friends. She felt it was really disrespectful, so she was getting coached on it. The coach said, “I wonder if he does that because he feels connected to you like a friend. I wonder if he doesn’t mean to be disrespectful, but to be friendly.” Whether or not it was okay for him to do this to his mom, doesn’t it completely change the feel of the “problem” when you see it from this perspective?
I was getting really annoyed with my kids talking to me constantly because I was finding it difficult to think while I was doing things. So I asked myself, “I wonder why they talk constantly to me?” I was suddenly filled with love as I thought about how they wanted so much to share their thoughts with me, how they wanted to be heard. I responded to them differently when I was filled with love than when I was annoyed, and I liked it a whole lot more.
This is also very helpful thought when you find yourself feeling judgmental of someone. If we really get curious, then it’s easier to get to compassion or love. “I wonder why that mom keeps screaming at her kids? I wonder what is going on inside for her?” “I wonder why my neighbour feels compelled to belch loudly on his back porch when he probably knows everyone can hear him? What’s going on for him?” “I wonder why my child is acting as if the world just ended when I put toothpaste on his toothbrush? I wonder why that is so important to him?” Read those questions in judgment. Now read them again in genuine curiosity. It gives you a totally different feel, doesn’t it?
How about when you’re being judgmental of yourself? “I’m so fat!” to “I wonder why I keep overeating?” “I should spend more time with my kids.” to “I wonder why I think I should spend more time with my kids?” or “I wonder why I don’t feel like spending more time with my kids?”
I find when I’m genuinely curious that I am more effective because I start operating out of love and compassion instead of annoyance, frustration, and anger.
How about you?