Be Curious, Not Judgmental
Updated: Mar 29
Everyone has a unique story, perspective, and life experiences that contribute to who they are. We often meet people from vastly different backgrounds, with values and cultural norms that may vary drastically from our own.
As we go through our lives meeting new people, it's natural to form opinions of them based on our observations: What they're wearing? How do they act in public?
Instead of succumbing to judgments or harmful stereotypes about others, embracing curiosity can open us up to a world of discovery and compassion for others (and for ourselves).
In this blog post, let’s explore the impact being curious instead of judgemental towards other people (and towards yourself) can have on your life!
How Does this Work?
The human mind is a meaning-generating engine that is continually forming hypotheses, passes judgments, and searches for recurring patterns. This is not a character flaw in and of itself - rather, it was a protective mechanism that kept humans safe for a very long period while we developed.
On the other hand, these same characteristics may not serve us well in our interpersonal interactions. Our internal narratives have the potential to be biased, self-destructive, or even cause harm to another person. All three of these outcomes are possible.
In the end, our opinions may be the lens through which we see the world, and this lens is, at best, cloudy and, at worst, completely opaque.
How Is It to Be Curious and Not Judgemental?
I have to constantly do self-examinations in order to work on being less judgemental and more inquisitive. As a result of doing so, I have discovered that it is astounding how many of my presumptions turn out to be incorrect.
Being judgemental takes a lot more effort, is less fun, and wastes a lot more energy than being interested, which is something else that I've picked up along the way.
The more we know about a subject, the more we are able to see things from other people's perspectives, and the more we question things, the more we will understand both the truth and the wisdom behind them.
As the world continues to move at a breakneck speed, those in positions of authority have a continuing need to seek out truth and wisdom. It is to the benefit of leaders to be interested, to avoid passing judgment, and to avoid placing too much stock in what has been successful in the past.
How Are You Going to Avoid Being Judgemental While Yet Being Curious?
When we let curiosity take the place of judgment, we are able to cultivate greater compassion, understanding, and empathy - this leads to a life that is better and more fulfilling for you!
Be More Open
Concentrating on grasping the other person's perspective is one of the most efficient methods to avoid being judgmental while retaining one's natural sense of curiosity about the world.
In order to do this, I make it a point to engage in the practice of active listening, which is paying close attention to the words and body language of another person while also participating in a conversation by way of questioning.
This enables them to feel like they are being heard while also helping me obtain a better grasp of their viewpoint.
When I'm talking to someone about a topic or a problem, I make it a point to avoid jumping to conclusions based on my own perspectives or the things I've been through. Instead, I make it a point to have an open mind and be prepared to consider other points of view.
Be Conscious of Who You Are
Being conscious of the ways in which my own feelings might color my perspective of other people is another essential component of avoiding passing judgment.
It is important for me to recognise that these reactions are only natural and that it is key for me to find healthy coping mechanisms so that I can view conversations without any preconceived notions or biases.
When we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by life events, it can be easy for us to react harshly toward others who may not share our views or understand our feelings. When this happens, it is important for me to recognise that these reactions are only natural and that it is important for me to find healthy coping mechanisms.
For instance, if I am feeling particularly emotional before having a discussion with someone about a contentious subject, then I will take some time for myself beforehand to calm down and clear my head so that I can approach the conversation with as much objectivity as possible. This will allow me to approach the conversation with the most amount of emotional distance possible.
Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Participating in activities that are beyond one's comfort zone is, last but not least, an efficient method of avoiding judgment while simultaneously maintaining one's natural curiosity.
People may become more conscious of their own biases and prejudices by engaging in activities that are out of the ordinary or that they are not used to. This can help them see events from multiple perspectives.
We may become more tolerant of people who are different from us if we challenge ourselves to go outside of our comfort zones and learn more about the cultures and ways of life of people from other countries and communities.
Here are some tips to achieve these targets more easily:
● Give things a chance that you typically wouldn't, such as trying a new sort of cuisine or music that you wouldn't generally listen to
● Compile a complete list of the facts
● Be interested in why you may be feeling a certain way about a scenario rather than passing judgment on whether it is "good" or "bad."
● Switch "Why?" to "Why Not?" in your question
● Instead of criticising anything that is outside of your comfort zone by inquiring "Why?" about it, review the situation and inquire "Why Not?"
● Take the time to get to know other people rather than evaluate them based on how different they are from you
● It could come as a surprise to you to learn how similar we all truly are
● Put an end to being so critical of yourself
Effects of Having a Curious Mind
Having an inquisitive attitude toward our own thoughts and emotions brings us closer to fully understanding who we are. It is also an excellent technique to help us develop our sense of curiosity about other people. In point of fact, the more severely we evaluate ourselves, the more harshly we evaluate the actions of others.
When we believe that we already possess all of the necessary information, we are more likely to form opinions. Strong sentiments, often consisting of either acceptance or disapproval, may occasionally go hand in hand with judgments. The more certain we are in our evaluations and assessments, the more stable and unyielding they become.
We are more likely to be dismissive and cynical when our evaluations involve strong expressions of disapproval or hate.
Therefore, if you want to learn more about the world around you while also feeling less critical and cynical, it is essential to change your judgment into curiosity. This will allow you to achieve both of these goals.
How to Differentiate Between Your Judgment And Curiosity?
Having a genuine curiosity is about more than simply having a lot of inquiries. It's easy for questions to be nothing more than thinly veiled assessments or critiques.
The question "Why didn't you finish your homework?" posed by a father to his kid, is a typical kind of inquiry that contains more judgment than genuine curiosity, causing the respondent to take a defensive stance.
In general, judging others prevents us from seizing chances to improve the quality of our relationships with other people.
For example, a spouse or partner who says, "You left the shopping on the counter and the dog got into them," or a boss who reprimands her employee for "not sending me the right file," might be missing an opportunity to be curious about what happened and why it happened, which could lead to more potential conflict within the relationship. This could also lead to a loss of trust in the relationship.
Because you are truly interested in what the other person has to say, they will sense your interest in them, and if there is a problem, they are more likely to self-correct and do things differently in the future.
Whether it's something relatively insignificant, like reading a column in the newspaper, or something significantly more significant, like understanding your spouse or child, allowing yourself to feel curious before making a judgment enables you to understand the situation better and increases the likelihood that things will go more smoothly.
After all, there is always going to be another opportunity for judgment, should it become necessary!
Being curious instead of judgemental is an admirable trait to have. We are all unique and each has something amazing to offer.
When we can recognise that life offers a variety of experiences, it's easier to make connections with people who are different from us thus creating a diverse and accepting atmosphere for us all. It's also important to be gentle with ourselves and discover what makes us unique without the fear of judgment or criticism.
Life should be embraced with curiosity and humility rather than terror and doubt; reminiscing in moments as they come instead of fearing the future. Fostering curiosity over judgment not only invites endless opportunities but has the potential to make this world a brighter place.
This year, take the approach of being curious instead of judging a situation or a person.
Happy New Year to you and yours, from everyone at Forever Young People!