I have no special talents.
I am only passionately curious.
The thing I'm proudest of
is that I have stayed curious.
~ Jane Fonda
Despite the saying that "curiosity killed the cat," curiosity is a primary motivating factor for self-awareness, growth and change! Transformation and innovation are fueled by curiosity about how things work and why, inside and out, micro and macro.
Babies and young children are constantly curious and interested in their surroundings and in how things work, experimenting in a multitude of ways, constantly exploring their environment. Everything is new and fascinating. Young children are famous for driving their parents to distraction by constantly asking "why?"
Over time, curiosity often wanes, as life becomes more familiar and routine, and a sense of wonder often dissipates. Many people become jaded and blinded to their surroundings and to their inner world. Yet it doesn't have to be this way! The cultural interest in mindfulness is a healthy "fad" as it encourages a moment by moment awareness of what is. This awareness is, in a sense, curiosity, or at least arises from curiosity.
In over 20 years as a therapist, I find that clients who are curious or become curious during the process of our work together, are most able to utilize therapy, getting to know themselves in a deeper way, facilitating change and transformation. This curiosity about their lives, inside and out, how they got to be who they are and how they got to be where they are, allows them to get to know themselves better and have more choice in their lives.
There is so much to be curious about in life, so many things to learn about in the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual realms as well as in science, the arts, technology,politics, history, literature etc. Curiosity keeps us vital and engaged in life and gives our lives direction and meaning.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley