Cultivating curiosity is a powerful way to live our lives. Instead of condemning and criticizing ourselves, instead of making assumptions and jumping to conclusions, instead of taking negative thoughts as cold, hard facts, we can get curious. Getting curious gives us important insights, which we can apply to how we make decisions, to how we make meaning, to how we care for ourselves.

For instance, instead of disparaging or punishing yourself for eating dessert late at night, every night, you start exploring. Maybe you genuinely enjoy eating dessert. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.) Maybe you don’t enjoy it at all. Instead, you rush through it and barely taste it. Maybe you’re turning to dessert to heal something that can’t be healed with dessert. Maybe you’re struggling with disordered eating. Maybe it’s something else altogether.

You won’t know, and you won’t be able to make a nourishing decision, if you don’t ask and let yourself listen fully to the answer. And if it is disordered eating or a deeper pain or both, you can find a therapist, journal about it, talk to a friend, read books on the subject, or do something else that actually gets to the root of the issue.

Below are just some examples of the many, many valuable things you can get curious about:

  • why you want to lose weight.
  • why having a “bikini body” is so important to you.
  • why you’re devastated about __________.
  • that self-critical thought that keeps resurfacing. where does it come from?
  • why you’re anxious about ___________.
  • what you love. why?
  • your desire to diet, to count calories, to control your portions, to cut out carbs.
  • why you stayed silent.
  • what your inner critic is so fearful of.
  • whether the obstacles, limitations or challenges you think are sabotaging your process and your life actually are.
  • why you feel depressed on Mondays.
  • what is so soothing about your evening glass of wine.
  • why you gravitate toward people who are unsupportive.
  • how Facebook makes you feel.
  • why you were so angry this morning.
  • why you doubt yourself whenever you’re around so and so.

Today, consider picking something that you criticize yourself about and/or something you desperately want. And get curious. And delve deeper.

Photo by Luca Bravo.