Curiosity is both a negative and a positive quality to possess. It reminds me of two of the Seven Deadly Sins. To be envious, for example, is dreadfully rotten but can also motivate one to be a better person or work harder to achieve what one desires. Pride can also protect one from de-motivational or embarrassing experiences to come out with a stronger sense of self-acceptance. Curiosity is the same in the sense that it depends in what circumstance we use it and what we derive from it.
I am a curious soul especially when it comes to people and that may probably sound awful right now, but let me explain. Rather than pry into people’s personal lives, I love exploring the psychology of a person through intuition. I enjoy guessing what kind of person you are without actually asking too much about your life. And I love meeting people who keep me guessing their personality. The art of intuition is a branch of psychology I find very interesting and before I knew what it was I was already using it. I would describe intuition as a quality – one that may be inherent or acquired. Although some people have a natural sense of intuition, it is definitely a skill that can be self-taught. In fact, intuition is often part of the training given to detectives and interrogators when it comes to revealing clues to a crime.
Intuition to me is a positive quality but is not one that I simply rely on to form impressions on a person’s character. It is just the starting point that helps ME understand what makes YOU tick. Generally, it would take communication with you, observing your behaviour with different groups of people and sharing positive/negative experiences with you to understand your character. What is important to me is not to find out your personal affairs but to empathise with you. My mind is consistently wondering what it would be like in other people’s shoes. I find it so frustrating that I can only see the world through my own eyes and life. When I die who knows what will become of me? Could re-incarnation really be true? Even if I am re-born as somebody else, I will still walk the Earth in my own pair of shoes. This limiting aspect of humanity makes it hard for us to empathise with each other and can lead to negative curiosity.
Negative curiosity is basically the art of nosiness and the main reason why I wrote this post. If I had to write a top ten list of phrases that define the philosophy I have formed about life until now then Live and Let Live would be one of them. I believe it is complicated enough trying to live our own lives so why go about trying to tell others how to live theirs. Why pry and point, judge and criticise, condemn and control people? Why not use the same energy to focus on your own life rather than that of others? We are all naturally inquisitive but there is a fine line between being curious and being nosy. Once you are in the nosy territory it is easy to adopt other negative traits like spreading rumours or gossip.
Privacy is something I hold dear to me which sounds strange for someone who often likes to blog about her personal life. However, when I blog I choose what to share and I hold myself responsible for any consequences that follow. When people persistently keep asking me questions about my private life and I know that they don’t mean well it really annoys me. I try to make it clear to them that I am not happy with their questions but sometimes it is hard to get through to them. In some cases, I understand that they just want to satisfy their inquisitiveness and I play along. However, when a nosy person starts asking questions to the point that they judge you and make you conform to their views, that is when it is no longer fun and games. When someone I care about asks too many questions and criticises my actions, it’s supposed to hurt for a reason. It hurts because I love them and they love me and that means they probably mean well. This is one of those situations when Live and Let Live doesn’t work. Sometimes we need someone to pry into our lives, as long as it is someone who does so in our best intentions – whether they know us well or not.
I don’t really want to be preachy on the way we interact with others. After all, as I explained earlier, I am unable to step into everyone’s shoes. However, I believe that if we exert a level of empathy in each interaction, we can create better relationships with people. Intuition can help one get in tune with people’s feelings and emotions before saying potentially insensitive things to them. Because our human nature limits us from fully understanding the way others think, it is crucial to practice tolerance. When we practice tolerance we open our minds to new experiences. The good thing about that, is that we need not feel pressured to partake in such experiences (especially if they don’t align with our values), but at least we can peacefully co-exist with people who do. And finally, with an open mind comes not only an open will but an open heart. The key word: compassion.
The next time you’re not sure whether your curiosity is getting the better of you exercise a little compassion and ask yourself the following:-
- Do I know the person well enough to be asking such questions?
- Do I have the right to control this person’s actions?
- Do I have the right to condemn this person’s actions?
- Can I ask the person to explain it to me before criticising it?
- Am I just asking so as to open my mind?
- Am I asking such questions due to envy?
- Am I asking such questions due to boredom or to satisfy my crave for gossip? (probably the most pointless and annoying reason)
- Do I intend to use the information I found out for good or for bad?
- Am I asking such questions because there’s something in it for me?
- Would I like it if someone asked me the same questions?
REMEMBER: Only you know how to live your life in the best way possible. Let others live theirs. Live and Let Live.