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I love the term curiosity. In fact, in session, it sometimes becomes a running joke with the number of times I say to client ‘be curious’. It is a great word, fun and light-hearted, yet it helps us get to the heart of the matter. By being curious, we put a natural pause into the situation. Our first response is not to be curious; our first response is to judge, be critical or ignore.
For example, let’s say you woke up this morning feeling crabby. You might say to yourself, “Great, another crabby day.” You might yell at your kids or your partner; you might not even notice you are upset and just go about your day feeling off but not noticing, not living happier.
If you add curiosity into your day, you wake up feeling crabby; you say ‘Huh, wonder what’s going on? I feel off.” and that puts a natural pause into the normal course of events. You might not figure it out right away but by asking the question you throw it out there. The answer might be as simple as you didn’t get enough sleep, or it is a cold rainy day, or you picked up your partner’s bad mood. Or it might be more complex like you realize you need some alone time and you are tired of always having people around. So you say to your partner you need to figure out a time when you can be alone. Or you realize you are super stressed about a presentation at work so you might talk to a friend about it.
Having curiosity allows us to get to the heart of what’s going on so we can make some changes that allow us to live happier. Curiosity also takes the emotion out of it. It is just a simple question, “Why am I feeling this way?” “What is going on?” We don’t have to answer the question immediately but asking it allows us a. To look at our mood b. to be non-judgmental about it (this is a biggie) and c. to potentially determine a solution.
Curiosity is also fabulous when it comes to relationships. Instead of ASSUMING, someone is out to get you or hurt you we can have some curiosity about why they are acting in a certain way. For example, You wake up, and your partner starts yelling at you about feeding the cat, instead of getting defensive and yelling back you might have some curiosity about why they are crabby.
Maybe they didn’t get enough sleep, maybe they have a big presentation, maybe they need some alone time. Having curiosity de-escalates the conflict. Instead of firing back in anger you can first have the curiosity about what is going on (Most of the time it has NOTHING to do with you) and then give the other person a little room to have their mood. Many of the petty little arguments we have in relationships can be solved with just a little curiosity. Try it. I promise it will help you live happier.