May 05, 2018

Curiosity and Compassion

I think I’m going through a season of hearing wise words, because I’ve found another one I love.

“Curiosity and Compassion kill Judgement”

It is far too easy to judge those around us. It almost comes as naturally as breathing. The reality is though, that it rarely adds any value to our life, and none whatsoever to the poor soul on the receiving end. So when I heard this quote, I was excited to try out a new way of challenging that thought pattern. If judgement is our response to a person for an action, something they’ve said, how they look, or even something as insignificant as their style or social status, ask yourself what it would be like if instead you were curious about them, and then compassionate about their situation. I’ve personally found this to be an effective way of doing a mental 180°!​​​

So what is it to be curious and compassionate?

Curious:
We aren’t in their shoes. We haven’t had their upbringing and all the challenges or benefits that might have brought. We don’t think the same way they do, care about the same things, and we aren’t on the same journey through life. But we can find out some of those things! ​This curiosity helps us to get a little bit more removed from the negativity of judgement, and helps clear our head – that’s a massive first step. This means we are more open to feeling something else towards this person, hopefully something more constructive. It also means we’re capable of connecting with them. As we observe more, ask questions and reconsider our judgement, we find reasons to connect with their human-ness. They’re a fellow traveler, just like us and there is potentially so much to learn from each other – why miss out on that? You end up swapping the judgement for possibility. I think that’s a good bargain to be honest.

Compassion:

I love this part! Compassion. It can be a powerful and potent tool in uplifting people in our lives. You know this is true; when you’re struggling with things you can’t control, or at least feel like are out of your control, receiving compassion is like cool water on a sweltering hot day. Important distinction here: I’m not talking about being patronising, condescending or pretending like everyone we don’t like are these helpless people who need our soft, squishy lovin’. Nope! Compassion is about recognising that life is as tough and challenging for others as it is for us, and we will choose to be sensitive and supportive instead of dismissive and uncaring. Compassion is the choice to care and be invested in helping those around us, however that might look.

Judgement will rarely result in growth. Curiosity and Compassion on the other hand create a very powerful space for someone to be the best version of themselves, and it works both ways! The curiosity may just be a few seconds of observing and re-thinking, and the compassion may never be more than the decision to recognise life’s challenges that we share as people, but there is so much more on offer when we pick this over judgement.​

I don’t want to close myself off to people’s potential. We have too much to share with each other to risk isolating ourselves into small little groups that are ‘up to standard’. You’re curiosity and compassion might be just what it takes for that person to feel lifted up enough to grow and change.