Never Stop Asking–Why We Must Remain Curious
I’ve learned that life is about questions and not answers. It’s about being ever curious.
A lot of folks think that being a mental health professional is about giving advice and having the answers. That is far from true. In fact, I am the one who asks questions; I learn about stories, lives, perspectives, and I listen. I make sense of core belief systems, and cognitive distortions and reflect them back. I ask questions so that I can facilitate change and growth because it can’t come from me. It has to come from them. The way I think of it is this: I am a guide on other people’s journeys. They are the ones with the answers. They come to their own realizations, grow, learn, push through pain, anxiety, trauma, etc. I provide tools, tips, maps, support, and empowerment along the way, but that’s it.
In my life outside of work, having a curious mindset is crucial as well. Meeting new people, listening, and learning, are how connections are built and maintained. In my marriage, too, I must remain curious. For my husband and I to continue to connect and to grow together, we must remain teachable and interested.
This is particularly hard for couples who have been together for a long time, those who feel like they know everything about one another. They sometimes even stop putting in any effort at all. I have been with my husband for 10+ years, for over a third of my life, and there are new things I learn all the time. By no means is this easy, though. There have been many times where this concept has slipped away from us. It’s important to gain awareness so we can direct ourselves back.
We all know that life can change on a dime. What we fail to recognize sometimes, is the incremental change, the not-so-obvious changes that don’t feel like changes when we are so close. But, this is what we need to pay attention to the most, or we can wake up 30 years down the road and feel like we barely know each other anymore. So we gotta stay WOKE.
So, at the end of the day, relationships are about asking questions and listening. It’s about reflecting back so others know we hear them. I mean, really hear them. Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors shift through time because life doesn’t live on a smooth plane. It lives on mountains and valleys and in ebbs and flows.
Plus, nobody likes a know-it-all. That’s just irritating.
So, the next time you feel yourself not listening, not learning, and not asking questions, use your self-awareness and direct yourself back. Because if we stop learning, we stop growing and evolving, which can be even more irritating than being a know-it-all.