We can Worry or we can Wonder.
We can get curious or we can get furious and cold-hearted.
It’s our choice.
My kids taught me a lesson this week. When they came upon their dad and I in hushed and ferocious conversation, my daughter asked a simple enough question:
“Why are you two upset?”
And we could have rolled our eyes, and ho-ho-ho-ed our way out of it by saying something along the lines of, “Oh–you wouldn’t understand–go play.” but we didn’t want to do that. Because we wanted to work it out in our own minds so we could communicate it to our kids.
Truth is, as we bluster about, seeking control of the future and a guarantee of smooth sailing, we are wasting our time.
Instead, when we can step away from our worry and gain a bit of perspective, we can be present. And that’s when we can do something about our fear.
How can we leverage our curiosity to dispel worry?
How can we engage wonder instead of shutting down?
Perhaps the single most effective question we can ask is the one my daughter voiced…
Or even better, let’s try:
You can’t be worried when you are trying to truly understand another point of view.
Its hard to be angry when you are curious and open.
When we get wrapped up in our own, exclusive viewpoint, we end up in a defensive place. We aren’t listening. We are travelling in a tunnel, not allowing for any other possibility than that one we have already decided is right. We are reacting, shut down, caught in blaming and shaming.
We just want to make the other person see why we are right.
But that doesn’t move anything forward. And that closes off any chance for connection.
Relationship and connection die when we let worry take over our world-view.
Instead of letting worry and furious reaction rule our interactions–whether with our children, our husband, or the great big wide world, can we open up to wonder and curiousity? Getting curious makes us engage while getting furious just keeps us stuck, spinning in our own thoughts.
While wonder expands and widens our lens of ideas, situations and disagreements, worry just contracts, makes our view shrink and keeps us stuck.
Move Forward in Connection
So, great, awesome, how am I supposed to do this? How do I hook into wonder so I can dispel my worry?
Here are three ideas worth implementing, inspired by Polly Campbell, author of How to Live an Awesome Life, next time you feel stuck, judgemental or just plain wronged:
- Get curious: I wonder why I am so worried about _______________.
Ok–now you have that worry in mind. You have some idea about why you are worried–maybe you feel helpless, unheard, mixed-up, just plain scared. Hold that space for yourself.
- Brainstorm: I am worried about this. I wonder what I could do to help myself better understand the situation. I wonder what I can do to feel better about this. Make a list.
You have identified your worry. You have made a list of all the possibilities to make yourself feel better or move out of the spinning. Do this next:
- Is there a lesson I can learn here? Is there some gold nugget I can take away and help my anxiety?
When we hook into our curiosity instead of our fear in a situation, we can feel relief. We can begin to feel hopeful. We start to see a way around or through instead of feeling stuck and helpless. While we might not be able to control or change the current situation, we are in control of one variable at all times.
We are in control of our thoughts and our reactions to situations. And that? That is WONDER-ful!