How to use curiosity as your door to being unapologetic (and compassionate) – Integrally Alive Podcast

What is your weird?

Do you keep it for yourself like something you’d rather people not see about you?
Or do you proudly show it for everyone to admire?

I have many, which I share more or less privately.

On ladybug, being weird, compassion and being unapologetic

Today I was thinking about someone I met a few years ago in a lovely community.
When she arrived, everyone could not but notice she had a Ladybug doll on her head at any time. I literally never saw her without it.

She acted like everything was normal, but let’s admit it, everyone was like: “This is quite weird! This is interesting.”

One day I was with friends sitting at a bar, and she arrived and she joined us at the table. Someone asked her: “So what about the doll? What is the story?”

And the most naturally in the world, she simply said: “Well, yeah, she’s my friend.” She took it and hold it in her hands, looking at it. “It’s my friend. She’s called Betty. We go along pretty well. We have deep, interesting conversations together.” And she put her back on her head.

Everyone went something like: “Oh, that’s cool.” And that’s it! No one said anything, no one thought anything weird about it, we just were like: “OK, that’s cool, it’s your friend, she’s helping you. Great!”

We all have our weird things that we walk around, wishing no one will ever know or they will think we are crazy. But she was actually showing it and didn’t care. In fact she couldn’t care less what people would think about it. And I think it worked out pretty well for her in that community.

But I’m not sure how it would have worked in other places. This was a very special place, with very open minded, very accepting people.

What if our weird was OK?

But imagine we would live in a world where it would be OK to have that weird thing known, where people wouldn’t care about it, then would just accept it for what it is.

Where you wouldn’t be afraid of letting anyone see you because they would be supportive and they would just take you as you are; like we did with her. So you wouldn’t need to dance like no one is watching because everyone would watch, and they would dance with you.

But for most of us, this is not the word we grew up in, and this is not the world we live in. And our life would have been quite different if it was. I know it because not only mine would have, but also every time I ask this question in a workshop or in a group session… Oh, the look on the faces.

But just because it has been like that, doesn’t mean it is great. So what if we decide that this is our world now.
How would your life change?
How would that feel? And how easier it would make it to relate to others, if you knew that whatever you weird is, they would just accept it and welcome you as you are?

I personally think it would change the world for the best.

And this is why this is one principle that is a pillar I include in the “Deep connection, real fun!” meetups that I’m holding: Playful curiosity!
This is one pillar principle I really, really, really care about and include all the time.

My challenge for you: Next time, be curious!

Next time you meet someone new, or even someone you know, notice what assumptions you might have.

We all have assumptions about others, but we can act on them or notice them as they come up. And take them for what they are: assumptions, projections of our thoughts.

Try this little thought experiment right now: When was the last time you felt something weird about someone you met? What what was your reaction about it? Did you act on it? Did you just notice it and thought “OK, that’s interesting”?

Whatever your reaction was, how did it impact the relationship for the better or for the worse… How was it?

Let’s choose curiosity over judgment

Note that, all of this is not so much about accepting or excusing any behaviour. We can totally disagree with a behaviour, and even decide we don’t want to interact with that person. But even so, we can be curious.

Going back to this example of the Ladybug doll girl, she wasn’t doing anything harmful. I don’t have a clue why she was wearing this ladybug doll. And maybe she needed some professional help. I don’t know. But she wasn’t harmful to anyone, including her. So… Let her live!

That’s the idea. Would I walk around with a doll on my head? I never felt the need to, and I could think of many reasons not to. But being curious about it, led to a much more interesting conversation. And we could understand where she was at. I actually don’t think she needed any help; and maybe she’s not even having the doll on the head right now because, well, she could have the conversations she needed and now it’s done. Who knows? But that’s not the point.

The point is: Instead of asking if it’s good, or bad – judging it -, let’s ask ourself: “What about it? Well, it’s quite interesting. I never saw anyone wearing a ladybug doll on the head before. So what’s the story? I want to know.”

That is so much more interesting for everyone.

What about the judgment we hold about our self?

If we want to take this a little bit further, then let’s apply this thought experiment to our self!

We all are keeping things for ourselves because we judged it as weird. And we don’t want others to see it. And sometimes for a good reason, maybe because of it we were called too much (I know about that), or crazy (yeah, this one too).

Maybe someone called us crazy and we reacted thinking: “OK, I’m never going to let this through again. This, I’m keeping it for myself.”

How would it change our relationship with ourselves and our life, if we would be OK for us to show up in that way, for this thing; to accept it for what it is, be curious about it? And let it let be shown.

How about you try it, whether next time you meet someone and you’re like you’re notice an assumption, being curious instead of reacting to it; or with yourself.

I hope you try this, and I’m curious to know how it goes.
Let me know, drop a comment on my socials and let’s keep the conversation going.

Stay tuned for the next video. Until then, enjoy your weird!

(Intro music for the podcast: “Tiny people”, by Alexei De Bronhe )