Follow your curiosity. What happens in you when you read that sentence? Is there excitement? Hesitancy? Confusion? Anxiety? Something totally different?
For me, that statement holds both a feeling of excitement, a hint of unchartered territory, and a sense of stepping over a line, slightly uncomfortable and a bit scared. And yet, from all the things I have been practicing the past years, following my curiosity has probably injected the most juice, fun and excitement into my life.
Curiosity, as a force to trust and follow, is one of the core tenants of Authentic Relating. Why? Because it can lead you to what truly lights you up. The things that fascinate you, that spark your energy, that have you engaged. And wanting to be engaged is the essence of authentic connection.
In Circling and Authentic Relating workshops, following your curiosity is a skill we practise, and it is also a skill that can easily be transferred to your relationships outside of that context.
You probably know those social situations where you end up in conversations about what you do for a living, or where you are from. I don’t know about you, but often these interactions don’t particularly inspire me or even bore me. Or they leave me indifferent. Indifference. Not a good place to create connection from.
For me, the core of connection is wanting to know about the other person
Actually being interested in them. In other words; being curious about them. In my case, the things that I am interested in are usually not what somebody does for a living, but other things, that can seem rather random. What were they like as a child? What really lights them up right now? What is something they would never speak in that moment, but if they would what would it be? What is the weirdest thing they have ever done? What is their sex life like?
My genuine curiosity tends to be somewhat out of the box. It can be edgy, and vulnerable, to actually speak it: I am also showing myself in the questions I ask. I feel acutely aware I am doing something outside of the ‘normal decorum’.
Partly that is likely a story in my head, and partly that is probably true.
And yet, I am wanting to feel engaged with and connected to most people I meet (and sometimes I don’t, and that is also interesting to notice, valuable information).
So I practise trusting, and following, my curiosity
When I decide to go ‘out there’, to where my curiosity is pointing me, it can be highly rewarding. I get to ask the questions I really want to ask. And I am more often than not, very surprised by what comes back to me. Beautiful stories, a deeper window into somebody’s world, a touching vulnerability. I get to have the conversations that have all of me engaged. I get to see that there is so much hidden in people, that I would never have known if I had not simply asked. I feel juicy, excited, turned on, alive, in the moment. Connected. And all that would not have been available if I had not followed my curiosity.
I sometimes even flip it around to actively create those engaging situations, when I am on the receiving end. When asked: “what do you do for a living?”, I sometimes reply with: “is that really what you are curious about right now?” – allowing the other person to check in with themselves, and ask the question that really lights them up.
It is fun. It can be edgy, especially when things get more personal. And for creating connection it is a powerful tool.
Try it yourself! Ask five questions you are truly curious about this week. And see what happens. I dare you 😉