Curiosity As The Seed Of Intimacy
You might have heard of this before, how much we tend to see the world mostly from our own perspective. It's a natural process, we are wired this way, we do it across races, cultures, and country borders, and it is our mind's way of processing what we are experiencing using the knowledge and understanding we have already acquired.
Trouble comes, though, when life teaches us to hold on to our perspective and personal experience with fervour, because even though we might be feeling certainty in the moment and convinced that our perspective is right and the one to have (how could it be any different? It feels right, and everyone around us agrees with us), in actuality we just stepped into an illusion, which we created without realising.
It is a trick the mind plays, if we were to think of it this way.
Convinced by the weight of our thought, we support our thought passionately and unwaveringly, seeking confirmation by sources around us.
The more sources we find or the 'louder' the voice of that source, any possible contradiction starts to range in feeling from uncomfortable to inconceivable to infuriating.
Maybe this experience does not matter much, say, in the online space, or so we think.
After all we have another control illusion in our hands, we can unfriend people, mute them (I wrote this and paused... would we ever think of muting a person in real life?), block them, report them (often falsely, too, from what I have been hearing recently in the online networks), but how much does it matter in our every day life?
How much does it matter to be fervently holding on to our own perspective when it comes to our long-term committed relationship and what are the consequences for that?
You might say it depends, it depends on the situation, and yes, you would be right.
For instance, if we are being treated unfairly, or if we know about a situation with clarity, verified facts, personal experience and/or deductive thinking and the situation calls for it, yes, we have reasons in defending our perspective.
But what if we are holding on to our perspective as strongly when it comes to every day matters?
When it comes to situations where we discuss with our person, let's say, how they have chosen to exercise? Or to change their nutrition? Or to socialise? Or to follow a passion they have been meaning to for a while? Or how they want to run their new business? Or how they understood a movie we watched, or a news article they read?
The trouble with approaching all interactions through the lens of holding on to our own perspective, only, is that it deprives us of the opportunity to learn about the perspective of another person, the reason they are choosing to see life differently, the experiences that might have led them to their thoughts, the needs they meet through their approach and perspective, and the pleasure they might be deriving from their path.
By missing the opportunity to get curious about their way of seeing the world, we miss the opportunity of getting to know them in depth, of understanding them in depth and of leaving unfulfilled a set of the strongest wishes and desires in most people, the desire to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be acknowledged, and to be known for who and what we are in the way that we are.
It is this depth of curiosity, this wish of knowing and understanding which cultivates intimacy, closeness and trust between two people and which creates the necessary conditions to feel safe in each other's company and to allow themselves to open up and be vulnerable.
It is also this wish of knowing and understanding through curiosity which expands and spreads warmth, connection and intimacy as friendship and care between people outside of romantic relationships into the wider world and into the sturdy earth we walk on and the living beings we share this planet with.
Isn't it interesting how far and wide curiosity can take us starting as a seed of good will in a conversation between two people?
I certainly think so.
If you are being challenged by the circumstances in your relationship and would like to benefit from professional support, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Constantina Stamou is a certified Life & Relationship Coach, has trained with the Robbins-Madanes coaching school and Strategic Intervention, is an NLP Master Practitioner, has attended Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, and has a PhD in how we change the way we put sentences together as we grow older. Her work experience includes university tutoring, charity research, and entrepreneurship which has so far translated into the TNT Dance Salsa Club in London, her Reformer Pilates Studio at Kensington Olympia, London, and The Lantern.