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The Power of Curiosity

#042—The Power of Curiosity

Having trouble not being reactive to the people in your life? Do you find it hard to find patience and love for others when they are not showing you patience and love? When it’s hard to find love, it can be easier to find and hold the emotion of curiosity. This undervalued and underestimated emotion is a super powerful one. In this episode, learn what curiosity looks like and how it can help you become less reactive and a victim of your own nervous system.

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Full Transcript

Hey, welcome to Parenting Through the Detour, you’re listening to Episode 42, The Power of Curiosity.

Howard W Hunter said, “Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him.’ And we know that men and women are that they might have joy. But when you get taken on a parenting detour, it feels like joy is something that other people get to feel. But not you. It doesn’t have to be this way. Join me on this podcast. And let’s find some joy through your detours. And I’ll give you some help along the way. I’m your host, Tina Gosney. And I’m a life and relationship coach, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Hey, welcome back to parenting through the detour, I’m really happy that you are here today. Because I am going to tell you about this really powerful tool of finding curiosity in your life. I think it’s so undervalued, so underestimated, so we don’t even consider it so often that we even use this emotion of curiosity, and see how powerful it can be in your life. But before I get into that, I want to just let you know, I’m in the middle of testing out a new program with, I have a really awesome group of participants for this beta test that I’m doing. And it is going so well. I think it’s amazing how we’re led to find the right thing at the right time. How when we’re ready to learn something or change something in our lives, the very vehicle for us to do that and make that change comes into our lives and helps us do that.

I think it’s amazing how we’re just led to these things. And that’s how I feel about this program and the people who are participating in it. They are amazing. I know, this program is amazing. I think it’s so wonderful, to put together the right people with the right program, and see the magic happen. And this group is really helping me to make this program even more beneficial for all of you future clients as as they go through it. I’m making some small changes, sometimes some big changes.

And I’m getting tons of feedback from our calls. So I know how to make it even better for you in the future. So if you didn’t get in on this beta test, no worries, I’m going to be holding a new free masterclass in April and May. And you’ll be able to get in on that. But in order for you to hear about it for sure, I want you to make sure you sign up for my email list, because I send out all the info to my email list first. And so you’re going to want to be on that list. It’s a really important email to subscribe to. So go to the link in the show notes and sign up there.

And you’ll get a free training to when you get signed up. And well I will be releasing more information about this upcoming masterclass pretty soon. Not quite ready to let those details out into the world yet. But stay tuned because it’s coming. It’s going to be really great. And and if you didn’t catch last week’s episode about trauma, and my conversation with Lindsay Poelman. You after you listen to this episode, you need to go listen to that episode. Not only do we talk about some of the things like that we’re just discovering about trauma, that researchers are just figuring out some of the newest information. But we also talk about how it can show up in places like church.

Now it was a great episode. So be sure to go listen, finish this one first and then go listen to that one. But I’ve been thinking a lot about that conversation that I had with Lindsay about this past week. And I thought about something that I said to Lindsay in our conversation and it went something like well, church is the only place that’s considered to be a hospital where everybody tries to pretend that they’re not sick. And I’ve thought a lot about that this week.

And I thought also, it might seem unrelated, but I was thinking about my dog, Eloise, so hold on with me for a minute and I’ll make this connection. She is a toy Australian Shepherd. She’s this little 15 pound dog who just has a bundle of energy. And she also has a permanent smile on her face. She always Looks like she’s smiling. We take her on walks, and sometimes we let her come and run errands with us. And never fails. People are drawn to her because she just looks at them. And she always looks like she’s smiling. And we always get comments about how happy she looks.

And she is, for the most part, she has a really happy, super happy, friendly, smiley, tiny little dog. Something else I’ve noticed about her is that she looks really happy when she’s not happy. Actually, she looks really happy when she’s trembling. And she’s afraid. So the other night, I was sitting on the couch, and she came right up to me and snuggled in as close as she could. And that was not common for her because she is not a smuggler, she has so much energy, that she I think she finds it hard to sit still, and she does not really want to snuggle up next to you. But this night, she would not leave my site. And that was really strange. It’s not common for her. In the second place, she was trembling so much that I could visibly see her shaking, and I could feel her shaking as she snuggled up next to me.

And we discovered that as we listened because she’s really sensitive to sounds like a lot of dogs are that someone not too far from our house was shooting guns, like we could barely hear it. But she could hear it really, really well. And those types of noises really scare her. But she was still smiling. In fact, she was smiling even more when she was freaked out than she does when she’s actually happy and excited. Isn’t that interesting? Do you ever do that? When you’re falling apart on the inside? You smile on the outside? pretending everything is just fine. As you are barely holding it together? How often do you do that? I think we all do that more than we care to admit.

But just think about that. Be curious as to why you do that. And why other people do that? Why do we smile and pretend like we’ve got it all together and everything’s fine, I’m fine. Oh, everything’s great. When we’re really falling apart. That leads me to today’s topic of leading with curiosity, the power of curiosity. Now, as I’ve been talking to my clients, I’ve been talking a lot lately about about the benefits of staying open, having a very open feeling in your body, and staying curious. And oftentimes, we talk about in our calls, we talk about how it seems like there’s no other way to view a circumstance than the way that you’re already viewing it.

And it seems like there’s no other way to feel about something than you’re already feeling. But that’s just not true. It’s just something that we tell ourselves, and it’s a lie. If everyone were to interpret and feel the same way about a given circumstance, then we would all be exactly the same, we would all think exactly the same things. And we would all feel exactly the same way. And we would all do exactly the same things. But we are not exactly the same. We all think, feel and do things differently. Now I talk a lot in my program, about getting space in our models, getting space in our lives, space between the thing that happens, and your response to it, the circumstance that happens, and then your response. There is so much power in slowing things down in getting space in our lives. And most people that I introduce this idea to they agree that that would be better for them, but they just don’t know how to get there. Maybe you’re saying that to yourself right now.

Like, that’s awesome, Tina, but I don’t know how to do that. I’m so reactive. I hear that all the time. And often time we are really reactive. And we don’t take time to stop and notice what’s happening for us and for the other person. And to stay open about it and to be curious. Because this is what we do. We let our nervous systems take over and run the show. And this is where our emotions start driving us around. We we just give the keys of the car to the emotion and we hop in the passenger seat and we let the emotion tickets wherever it wants to go. And emotions take us to places that we don’t want to go. Those are they are terrible drivers and they take us to places that we do not want to end up

And then we get so confused. How did I end up here without realizing that it was because we handed the keys to the car to the emotion and let it drive us around. So here’s the truth, we will all mirror the emotions that we get from another person. So if someone is showing us disrespect, we often will show them disrespect, we will just want to do that naturally. If someone comes at us, and they’re very angry, we respond with anger, if someone is frustrated with us, we become frustrated with them. We get super good at doing this. And it’s actually built into our DNA to mirror other people’s emotions.

Now, there’s a good thing about this, because it’s one way that we build bonds, and connect with other people. Think about the positive emotions that we mirror also, excitement, love, compassion, we mirror those as well. And those really help us to bond and connect with other people and to feel connected in a group and to individuals. But it’s also when we respond with anger, to anger, frustration, to frustration, it’s a way that our bodies have of protecting us. And when we do that, it doesn’t produce relationships that we then feel good about.

And then we often are not proud of ourselves later, after we get a little space, and we have some time to slow everything down and look at it with a different perspective. We don’t like we’re not really proud of ourselves later for showing up the way that we showed up. This reactions, they really come from our lower brain. And this is the brain that we share with animals. Animals are very reactive, they sense danger, and then they react and we often do the same thing. So something happens and we have a strong emotion about it, our nervous system gets triggered. And then we go into a fight flight or freeze response. And we are acting solely from that response, we’re letting our nervous system be in charge and take over.

And at that point, we don’t have access to our higher brain, and we are just completely reactive. So we lash out and we say or do things that we regret later. And then later on when our higher brain is back online. We are so regretful, we have so much regret, we say things like why did I do that? That was so stupid. I can’t believe I said that. Was that really me? What’s wrong with me? Why was I thinking that was okay. Something else that we do is we just retreat inside of ourselves. Maybe we don’t react with anger, but we retreat, right. And we just feel like crawling into a hole. And we just want to hide, we look for any way we can to get out of this place.

We want to leave this physical place, leave this conversation, we just want to get away from what feels really dangerous at the time. And maybe we even agree with the other person just so we can leave, just so we can stop the conversation. So we can leave. That’s another response. Sometimes, we get in these places, and we can’t access words, hits, like, all the language flew out of our brain. And we don’t even know how to form a cohesive thought anymore, let alone make a point that we wanted to make. And then later on, when our higher brain comes back online, we think of all the things that we wanted to say. And we think why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t I say that? Why can I think of it now when I couldn’t think of it then.

And we wonder why we can’t do that. The reason is because we don’t have access to our higher brain, the thinking portion of our brain when our nervous system is triggered. And we react in these ways, and we start labeling ourselves as a person, like I just can’t have a hard conversation, or I’m just such an emotional person. Or I’m so dramatic. And maybe those are labels we put on ourselves. Maybe those are labels that we’ve heard other people put on us. Something else that happens when we start labeling ourselves and believing that’s just the way that we are is that we start living into those labels. We start living into them creating even more evidence that they are true.

See, I’m just an emotional person. So we react emotionally and we live into the labels that we give ourselves. And we accept the labels that other people put on us. But these are all really signs of a triggered nervous system and when our nervous systems are triggered our body cuts off oxygen to our higher brain. It’s that fight flight freeze response because it’s cutting off the oxygen to the higher brain, because it’s diverting it into the body, because we might have to escape where it danger right now, that’s what our nervous system thinks. When it says that we only have access to our lower brain. So no wonder we are so reactive, or that we want to get away as fast as possible, or we can’t really access what we want to say it makes total sense that that happens, that none of these type of reactions to difficult situations are effective.

And we don’t leave these situations feeling good about ourselves, or about the other person. In fact, we probably feel worse about ourselves, and we begin to harbor some resentment for the other person. And resentment is just poison in relationships, especially family relationships, it never leads to anything good or positive. So if we know that emotions, like anger, and resentment and frustration, don’t solve problems, why do we go there so often? Why don’t we try to use different emotions that will create different results. Because so many of us do not know how to react differently. We don’t even know that reacting differently is an option. So we stay in the same place reacting the same to the same disagreements, the same situations, we have the same fights over and over again, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

The details might be different, but their reactions and the results are the same. So let’s start talking about how to bring in curiosity. I want to introduce you to this very effective emotion. Curiosity. This is what curiosity looks like. I wonder why she just said that. What is going on for her? That she would say that to me? Or my heart rate is getting really elevated right now. Yep, my hands are shaking, and my heart and my head feel like they’re going to explode. Yep, I’m getting pretty angry. And I want to lash out right now. That is really interesting. Why am I reacting that way? Or maybe the situation seems like a no win on either side. So I’m not sure where to go from here. But I do know there must be a solution, I’m going to take a step back and not engage.

I’m just going to take a timeout, and gather up some thoughts, my thoughts about this, and maybe do some exploration and gather some information. As I stay open about what’s happening right now. These are just three ways, right? So many other ways that curiosity can take effect in our lives. And maybe you’re saying, Okay, I don’t know how to do that. And before I know it, I’m reacting and I’m already angry or frustrated. And I get it, I really do. Because I was there for a really long time. And it’s really easy to get caught up in our patterns of the way we’ve always done things and not know how to change them.

So the first step is just to notice, notice you’re getting triggered, notice your nervous system is becoming activated. Notice you’re having a strong reaction, a strong emotion. And then stop and breathe, stop and take a few really slow, deep breaths and give yourself a minute. Breathing. It’s such a powerful tool to help you get some space in your models, some space in your life. And if you don’t see what’s happening for you, until you’re already through the whole situation. And what you just didn’t notice it afterwards. And ask yourself, hmm, what was happening for me? What would I have done differently. And this also helps you to begin getting some space. And the more often you do that, the sooner you’re going to be able to catch it in the moment before the whole situation plays out.

Now, Curiosity is a completely undervalued emotion. It’s not even something we usually think about or consider very often. It’s a very, very powerful tool. And as often as you can be curious about yourself, about your own thoughts, your own feelings, your own reactions, about other people, and about what they might be thinking or feeling or doing. The more you begin to get some space in your models and in your life. So don’t underestimate this very under utilized emotion.

Now, my new masterclass is going to be offered soon. We’re almost April, you’re gonna want to get on my email. So you know when it’s scheduled, I’ll be offering it several different times in April and May, for sure one of those times is going to work for you. So get on my email list you’re gonna want to attend this class was going to be totally free.

And I want you to remember, as I end the podcast this week, that your detours and disappointments do not define your family and they do not define you. Okay, have a good week, and I’ll see you next time.