A classmate of mine from high school wrote recently to me on social media and wrote, “You are the Walt Whitman of our class.” A very nice compliment, although I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. However, in response to his post, I will share a Walt Whitman quote:
“Be curious, not judgmental.”
How very true his words are. Can I be curious with my friend’s compliment instead of judgmental? A compliment can be so easily dismissed, and with that, the lesson and insight into what it potentially can give to the recipient.
As a Life Coach, I’ve been immersed in this thought, but not quite necessarily in Walt’s quote. To be curious in life and with others gives so much more than be judgmental. To be curious with my clients is such a journey of exploration and insights!
My own history can be rooted in self-judgment as well as judgment of the world and people around me. What I’ve learned is that judgment limits me, limits my view of my life, limits my experience of the world and others, and limits my growth.
On the other hand, what might a life of curiosity be like? Curiosity is filled with exploration, investigation, inquisitiveness, learning and growth.
When I left the priesthood in 2012, I was filled with judgment, mostly of myself. I failed. Why can’t I stay in a particular occupation/vocation? What’s wrong with me? What are others thinking of me? Total and complete judgment.
When I entered into a relationship, judgment entered in. What will others think of me as a gay man? Will I even be able to be a good partner to him? Is this sinful?
All of that kept me small, afraid, and hidden. I wanted to not be seen, not make waves. But, curiosity has taken me beyond judgment and into a deeper understanding of who I am. I am much more than my vocation. I am much more than my sexuality. Curiosity gifted me with acceptance, grace, and new life.
Walt Whitman and 7 years post priesthood reminds me that life is truly about growth and expansion. Life is about curiosity, not judgment. When I judge, I stagnate. When I become curious, I move, grow, and even fly!
As we move through the experiences of life, where do we find ourselves in this spectrum between curiosity and judgment? I believe both exist in our lives, and both can have their place. However, I wonder if, like me, we might tend towards the judgment side and neglect the curious side?
What would your life be like if you were more curious and less judgmental? What would that life look like, feel like, and taste like?
I wonder if curiosity might lead us to more open doors, and less walls? What would life be like if we actually followed our curiosity into the places that we have judged? Geez, what if I seriously think about becoming a writer???