Did you grow up, hearing this sentence, “Curiosity killed the cat!”
I sure did!
I believe there are millions of us out there walking around the planet today, that heard some variation of the above statement from well meaning adults in our lives.
It was meant to discourage us from exploring, crossing boundaries of what was considered acceptable and really to encourage us to stay safe within the dotted lines of society.
And most of us listened to these warnings. We followed the rules.
It’s like there was an unwritten rule, “curious misfits not welcome!”
We may have done a huge dis-service to curiosity by discouraging its pursuit.
I believe that curiosity is one of the master keys that unlocks the door to personal growth and freedom.
Let me explain.
When I work with clients in helping them excavate and get to the root cause of why/how they came to be in a certain place in their life, very often, the first place I start is by teaching them to cultivate this attitude of observing their life with a sense of non-judgment curiosity.
For example, if you noticed that you got really angry at your co-worker, you might say to yourself, “isn’t it interesting that I got that angry.” And then you would observe what comes up for you as you allow that sense of curiosity to filter into your awareness.
This is the attitude that creates the fertile environment for all kinds of personal insights and awareness to come through.
With a repeated allowance for this kind of inner spaciousness and permission to observe without judgement, you might notice certain patterns start to emerge. You might notice that certain people or situations seem to trigger this type of anger from you.
You might notice that the way you feel in those moments reminds you of another time in your life when your mother or someone else significant made you feel insignificant.
With this new awareness, you might bring a sense of curiosity to see and observe yourself in the future, in a similar situation.
Perhaps you will react the same way.
Or, perhaps there will have been a tiny space that would have been created between the person whose behaviour is triggering you and your reaction.
Perhaps this time, or the next time, or the time after that…you might choose a different response.
A response that is skillful versus a reaction that’s unskillful.
Here lies the power for personal transformation to occur. The more that you can bring a sense of gentle, non judgmental curiosity to your everyday life, the more you create space for wisdom to enter in to your awareness and your life.
Without this freedom to be non-judgmentally curious, you might not have the same willingness to observe difficult experiences in your life. It’s easy to ignore what makes us feel uncomfortable and move on to the next thing.
The opportunity for personal growth however, comes with learning how to stay present, even in the experiences that stretch your comfort zone. Observing yourself with an attitude of curiosity can go a long way in allowing you to feel the freedom to stay with discomfort and mine it for the wisdom that is very likely hidden underneath.
What you do with that wisdom, can transform your life!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How can you bring more curiosity to your everyday life? To your inner world and to your outer world experiences? Would you be willing to play along for a day?
The next time you notice yourself getting upset or triggered in some way, I’d invite you to try the following and say to yourself…
“Isn’t it interesting that I…”
And fill in the blanks with whatever your experience was and what you did in that situation.
And then just observe what happens within you without judging the experience or yourself as either good or bad.
I’d love to know what you discover!