Thursday, July 7, 2016

Curiosity over Judgment: getting past defensiveness.


Say someone wants some aspect of my behavior to change: dress, schedule, food, drink, speech, whatever.

I initially get a little upset, defensive. But that's not productive. That's just anger and ego protection.

Is there a more excellent way?

I'm told that the secret to success is to replace judgment ('that's none of your business", "you are trying to control me", "screw off, I do what I want", "that's not fair") with curiosity.


"replace judgment with curiosity"

Curiosity. Hmmm. Let's try that. I wonder where that will lead.

I'll have to suspend my anger and judgment and blame and quit assigning motives to others if I'm going to process this with curiosity.

So much is possible now, and there are so many questions:

So, why is it so important to you that I change how I behave?
  • Is it for a purpose? 
  • Does it serve you in some way? 
  • Is it because you care about me and think it will help me? 
  • Is it so that we'll conform to the same standard? 
  • Is it because without the change I am missing opportunities? 
  • Is it for our mutual good? Only mine? Neither? 
And then -- since I got defensive -- there are other questions for me to answer first:
  • Why is keeping this behavior so important to me? 
  • Why should I cling to this behavior?
  • Is this behavior symbolic to me? Of what? 
  • Is this behavior central to my purpose and place in the world?
  • Has my current behavior limited me or expanded my opportunities and enjoyment of life? 
  • Is it really "just something I do"?
  • Is the new behavior really detrimental to me? 
And then... what is best?

If I take the position that I should want what is best for me, what builds the future and the person and family that I value so much:
"what do I really want?"


Now I can make a decision with clarity, intention, values, and purpose.
I'm free.
I have power over my life.
I can choose.

I don't even have to make a permanent decision for life, I can choose for now and revisit later when I know more about how this change affects me, you, and us.

"what does this mean to you?"

But of course, to get past judgment and to an end, both people are probably going to have to have this conversation -- in curiosity and not in blame or judgment.

I wish the world worked this way more often.