Love Letters to Humans (no. 46) — on Curiosity

Relational Joy Practice: Curiosity

A desire to know or learn by asking, investigating, or exploring

See also: interest, regard

The desire to know another being—not fix, control, rescue, label, analyze, avoid, correct, debate, punish, or otherwise alter them—is (in my experience) one of the sweetest expressions of love we can offer or receive. Curiosity about ourselves and others is a declaration that we are innately worthy of regard.

Curiosity requires us to suspend both fear and contempt, along with any impulse we have to control or run away.

When people come to me with a desire for more awareness of their “emotional wake” in their relationships, they want to know if they are taking up too much space in a conversation, if what they have to share is harmful, or if their impact is being felt at all. They twist themselves into knots worrying about whether they are helping or harming others (as if it can be only one or the other). They obsess about their power to save or destroy a relationship, and miss the single, most effective way of finding out how their relationships are going: ASK.

Rather than playing out imaginary scenarios in our minds (Ben calls them fantasy knife fights) or guessing how someone is feeling or what they are thinking, we can have real conversations—with ourselves and with other people.

If you want to know what your relationships are like, ask yourself. Then listen to your answers. If you want to know what someone else is experiencing in their relationship with you, ask them. Then listen to the answer.

⁃ What is it like to be you in your most important relationships?

⁃ What assumptions do you make about other people’s relationships with you? Are you willing to be wrong to move toward right relationship?

⁃ How do you know what you know about other people’s experience of life? Have they told you? Have you asked?

I LOVE private work with individuals, partners, and small groups. If you want to dive deeper and practice together in 2020, I do too… let’s talk. 🧡