The Power of Curiosity
If you Google the definition of curiosity, you will find some variation of “a desire to know or learn something”. What would it be like to bring more curiosity into our relationships?
Think about how many times we start a conversation with an expectation of the outcome, or ask a question already assuming we know the answer. When we assume or expect a certain response, we rob ourselves of the experience of being present and learning about the other person’s experience. To take on a stance of curiosity in these situations would mean that we would be letting go of assumptions, expectations, and judgment, and be seeking to understand the other person’s experience because we genuinely want to learn about it.
In relationships, this might look like a parent wanting to understand their child’s experience at school that day, or partners being curious and asking about how the other feels about something. This can even apply to your relationship with your own self, such as being curious about why you react or feel a certain way in response to something and exploring that to learn about yourself.
As children, we are great at being curious because that’s how we learn about the world around us. But as adults, we often lose some of our ability to be naturally curious. It can be vulnerable and uncomfortable at first to take on a state of curiosity in our relationships because that means we are giving up control and taking the risk of following where the conversation or interaction goes, letting go of any hopes or expectations for a certain outcome. But it can also be a freeing experience to be more present with another person and listen with the intent to simply learn about them.
If you are wondering how you can bring more curiosity to a relationship, a place to start might be to use statements like “I’m curious what that experience was like for you” or “Tell me more about what that was like for you.” Also, remind yourself that your goal is to learn more about the other person, not to see if what you assumed about them was correct. Enjoy the experience of being present and trusting the conversation to unfold as it will. Once you start looking through a lens of curiosity, it is amazing how your view of others and yourself can shift in a positive way, as well as how your relationships can grow for the better.