Be Curious, Not Judgemental

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I’m a huge Ted Lasso fan, and in preparation for season 3 coming out in late 2022 (possibly early 2023), I’ve been rewatching the first 2 seasons to get ready. In one episode, Ted is playing darts with one of the series antagonists, and in true Ted Lasso fashion, the whole time he is waxing lyrical about the human condition and just generally making viewers feel emotional. And in one part of his soliloquy, Ted mentions his appreciation for the quote by poet Walt Whitman ‘Be curious, not judgemental’. And I’ve been ruminating on that a lot.

Why have I been thinking about curiosity?

I’ve started a bit of a mental health journey recently and have started attending therapy to try and work on some problems and cycles of negative thinking I often enter, and that has made me more open and susceptible to new ways of thinking. And whilst the implications of being curious instead of judgemental to others are (or should be) easy to grasp, I’ve been working on applying the same thinking to myself. 

Instead of getting frustrated, angry or despondent with myself, I’ve been trying to be more curious about my thought processes and feelings, and not punishing myself for feeling a certain type of way. And the craziest thing about this is that by being kinder to myself, I am much kinder, more compassionate and open to other people, as I understand my own feelings and am just generally happier than I was during times when I got stuck in cycles of self frustration and flagellation. 

Realising you aren't an expert in everything

Another huge part of this mindset shift is accepting that I am not an expert on everything. I think a lot of people say that they know this intrisincally, but don't actually replicate that in the way they act.

Judging by public discourse, it seems like everyone at the moment is an economist, healthcare professional, sociologist, historian and fucking almanac. The truth is : we aren’t. If you get your information from the internet, there’s a good chance you are stuck in a confirmation bias loop, and are just seeing information that confirms your original opinion. And, if you are reading this and thinking “yes this applies to people I know”, it applies to you as well. This is a really tough pill to swallow, but I’ve been working on being curious, trusting the opinions and lived experiences of people in the heart of the situation and removing the egotistical part of my nature that makes me think I am capable of fully understanding and lecturing others on the world.

I don’t really have a purpose or goal for writing this blog, it’s just something I have been thinking about a lot recently and I wanted to amplify the message of self curiosity and compassion in my own very small way. Make sure you are being curious and don’t get annoyed with me if I ask you 4000 questions about your worldview the next time we bump into each other.

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