In my previous blog post, Power Of Curiosity Part 1, I talked about how we can use curiosity to heal and transform our emotions and open our heart.
In this week’s post, Power Of Curiosity Part 2, I want to continue to expand on the power of curiosity and talk about how it can help heal conflict in our relationships while deepening our connection to each other. Because deep connected relationships are fulfilling, supportive and joyful relationships.
In Part 1 I started by saying: “Curiosity is a superpower. It’s a desire to know and understand.”
This remains the foundation as we use this superpower to deepen your relationships.
As we go into this topic together, feel the power of curiosity coming alive inside you. Because curiosity not only helps us heal our emotions (Part 1), but it naturally opens us up to be more receptive, so we learn and grow.
Just look at children. They’re always so curious. And they learn and grow quicker than anyone else.
Understanding Conflict in Relationships
Let’s start with by understanding the foundation of conflict applied to relationships. When I say relationships, it could be an intimate relationship, family, friends or workmates. The principle is the same.
We all have different beliefs and opinions which we’ve cultivated and adopted throughout our lives, and these beliefs and opinions can be highly charged with emotional energy.
This is a big subject on its own, but what’s important to understand here, is that when we become too identified with those beliefs and opinions (too attached) they begin to define, confine and limit us. They give us a familiar sense of self, but when we’re too identified with them, they act like a cage separating us from the people we care about.
This feeling of separation creates a feeling of disconnection from others, especially from those who have a different belief or opinion than we do. Which is usually the case when there’s conflict or a disagreement in a relationship. But it’s this disconnection and feeling of separation that sets the foundation for conflict.
But what does this really mean?
It means that when we feel separate from someone, inside us, it really feels like “you vs me”. And if we’re emotionally charged and reactive, then it will feel like a fight.
Relationships and connection
Relationships are really about connection… and the depth of a relationship is relative to the level of connection we feel together. So to deepen our relationships we deepen the connection.
You know that feeling when you have a deep and authentic relationship with someone? There’s a sense of ease and flow of conversation. An openness to be vulnerable or challenged. There’s support, honesty, transparency, warmth and heart. But underlying all of this is the feeling of connectedness between you.
It’s the connection that facilitates all of the other qualities.
But even when we have a great connected relationship with someone, we can still have times when we clash, argue, or have conflict of some kind. So, it’s helpful to understand that those moments happen as a result of disconnection at some level.
How rigidly we hold our beliefs and opinions plays a part, but so do our emotions.
Our ability to heal conflict and deepen our relationships is really our about how we heal ourselves. Because our ability to connect in a relationship reflects our ability to connect with our self. This was the focus of Power Of Curiosity Part 1. I recommend reading it because it will help you understand the power of curiosity to heal and transform your emotions.
This is another useful article to learn more on this subject: Why We Feel Lonely And What To Do About It.
Our outward actions are a result of our inner state of mind. So, when we feel connected to someone, we feel a togetherness. A sense of “us”.
Think of when you feel really connected to someone. There’s a closeness and a caring. Even if they say something you don’t like or agree with, when you feel connected, you can stay present with them and not take it personally.
But think about when you feel disconnected from that person. Maybe your frustrated or upset for some reason, and they say something you don’t like or agree with. It could be the same thing they’ve said when you felt connected, and it didn’t bother you. But now you take it personally and an argument follows, because your emotional reactions make you feel separate from them.
We’ve all been there. The same person you usually love and respect can be your enemy because there’s a feeling of disconnection.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have different beliefs or opinions. Different opinions are healthy and necessary to further our growth in relationships and collectively in society. Different opinions are like different perspectives, which are powerful, because if we allow it, they help us to open our mind and our heart.
In a previous blog post – A Different Opinion Is Not Your Enemy – I go deeper into the negative impact this is having on human connection, and also how different opinions can help us to break our personal limitations so we can connect more deeply.
It’s also helpful to remember that having a different belief or opinion than someone else doesn’t not inherently mean there will be conflict. Conflict comes when we identify too rigidly with those beliefs and opinions that we refuse to understand others.
Some of the deepest conversation I’ve had have started out with different opinions. But our curiosity to go deeper was far stronger than any attachment we might have had to our opinions.
How does curiosity heal conflict?
Remember, curiosity is a desire to know and understand.
On a relationship level, when we engage an attitude of curiosity, we seek to understand the other person. So, even if we have a different belief or opinion, instead of conflict and fighting, curiosity holds a higher power that helps to open our mind and connect to our heart, so we can see things from the other person’s perspective. This is important because it establishes more connection.
Rather than fighting and being caught in the emotional reactions that often come when we’re too attached to our beliefs and opinions, curiosity shifts our state of mind and brings a deeper desire to know and understand the person.
It’s really about connecting to the person more than being caught in the stories.
Curiosity awakens a spark inside our heart that softens our over-identification with our own beliefs and opinions. Because there’s an inherent desire to connect and understand each other, it helps us to drop our protective ego, drawing us together to create a space of “us” as opposed to the feeling of “you vs me”.
This inherent desire to connect and understand flows from the essence of who we are, beyond the limitations of our ordinary thinking and emotionally reacting mind. It flows from that part of us that feels our connectedness to all things… including the people we interact with.
Curiosity is an expression of the heart. And all relationships need heart.
If we’re stuck in our own rigid beliefs and opinions when we’re in a relationship or interacting with someone, we’re already starting from a place of separation and disconnection.
But curiosity is an impulse to connect. It brings us together. … and when we feel connected to someone we act from that space.
Notice how when you’re curious about something or someone it makes you feel more open, alive and connected to that thing or person.
Curiosity deepens relationships because it’s a universal connector.
Curiosity is the power of an open mind
In an attitude of curiosity, we seek to understand each other. Instead of fighting to reinforce our limiting beliefs and prove one point of view is better than another, curiosity brings us together to exchange points of view, so we can learn, grow and flourish together.
It’s the natural inspiration of curiosity.
This doesn’t mean it will always be easy to turn on your curiosity. It can be challenging! Especially when you do feel strongly about something or you’re emotionally charged about it. But it also doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Your ability to shift into an attitude of curiosity is possible because you are greater than the limiting beliefs, opinions, reactional emotions and thoughts that run through your mind.
Curiosity is an expression of your heart. It’s part of who you truly are.
Use the power of curiosity to deepen your relationships
The next time you’re having a disagreement with someone, and you can feel your beliefs, opinions or reactions disconnecting you and creating the foundation for conflict and fighting, engage your curiosity to try and understand the other person… without judgement.
Feel it shift your state of mind.
Feel it open your heart.
Feel your desire to know and understand this person.
Be open and honest with them.
Communicate that maybe what their saying makes you angry, but you’d still like to understand them. Voicing how we feel can often open us up and soften the intensity of our reactions because the honesty brings authenticity, vulnerability and more connection.
Truth is a heart quality.
Notice how engaging curiosity brings more of your presence and heart into your relationships and interactions. Notice how it brings a closeness and deeper connection… and how conflict is healed as a natural result.
The power of curiosity is the power of heart.
Curiosity Has no Limits!
Here are a few questions and thoughts to spark your curiosity to go even deeper.
What if the point of human interaction was more about connection than proving a point?
What if the things we talk about are simply an opportunity to connect and understand each other?
Curiosity is really the desire to know and understand Truth.
What if we held truth as the standard to which we all strived?
With curiosity as our superpower, let’s make the world a more peaceful and connected place.
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