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Being Curious, Not Judgmental

by Matthew Handel 5 months ago in humanity
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A recent quote from Walk Whitman inspired me to write this.

I was recently scrolling through Twitter when I came across this tweet:

It's taken from the series, Ted Lasso, and, while it's a fictional character in a TV show, the quote that this video is centered around is something that I think is incredibly important in life.

The quote from Walt Whitman reads, "Be curious, not judgmental". Short and sweet, yet packed with meaning.

There have been many times in my life when I have mistakingly judged someone quickly. In many instances, I knew absolutely nothing about them besides what I was seeing in front of me at that very moment.

What could have happened if I was being curious instead of judgmental? Although I will never know, I have tried very hard to switch my vision from a judgmental one to a curious one.

I've found that living life through curiosity in place of judgment has opened my mind and heart up to many more opportunities. Opportunities to learn. Opportunities to grow. Opportunities to get to know people when, in the past, I would have made quick judgments and then moved on with my day.

This quote, and the lessons it carries, has also helped me become a better elementary teacher. Replacing judgment with curiosity has opened doors for me, my students, and every person involved in the dynamics that a school setting brings. Being able to model the positive impacts that being curious rather than judgmental has been incredible.

I write all of this to say this: let's live with more curiosity in our hearts than judgment. Let's ask more questions in place of making those quick judgments. Let's try to put aside pride and ego and instead live with more curiosity and an eagerness to be taught.

Some of the most impactful moments in my life happened because I was curious. I didn't know how or what was to come, but I trusted that being curious in those moments would lead to the opportunity to grow and learn.

I've talked a lot about my experience asking strangers on my walks what they love about themselves. I have learned so much from such a simple act. At first, there is judgment that I would place upon myself before ever even approaching someone. I would question if what I was doing was weird, not needed, respectable. Was I bothering people? It caused me to pause on opportunities that could have led to great outcomes. As I've gotten more comfortable with starting conversations with people on my walks, I've been able to approach it with more curiosity and less judgment.

There are so many opportunities for all of us to approach our day-to-day lives with more curiosity and less judgment. I particularly find this to be the case when I'm in public and people do things differently than I do.

I once heard an analogy about an iceberg. When we see people, we really only see the tip of the iceberg. The ice that is above the water. What we don't get to see is all of the ice that remains underwater. The tip of the iceberg, or the ice that we can see, for other people, is what they present to everyone else. What we often times do not get to see is everything "under water", or the things that other people are carrying inside.

Being able to reframe our minds to see through the lens of curiosity and less judgment leads to a lot of beautiful things. It can lead to more self-love and self-compassion. It can lead to more meaningful relationships in your life. It can lead to fresh ideas and new opportunities than would have been shut down by judgments in the past.

I think Walt Whitman got it right. Let's be more curious and less judgmental.


About the author

Matthew Handel

Just a passionate human with a goal of helping others to see their potential! Living by the lifestyle, "Be Kind. Be Positive. Be Yourself". If you indulge in my work then I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (6)

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  • Dustin Walker5 months ago

    Thanks for the reminder! I am a therapist, and I tell my clients this a lot, but I don’t always do a good job of practicing it myself outside of the therapy room.

  • Haylee Marick5 months ago

    I have been quick to judge but I am learning how not to be so this will help me on this adventure

  • Kelvin Athena 5 months ago

    Good writing! It's especially relatable to me as I learn to be sympathetic with others instead of judgmental.

  • Mariann Carroll5 months ago

    Congrats on Top story, well deserve👏🌹

  • Nice perspective. And I'm sorry for pointing this out here, but I would want to know if it were me-- You have a typo in your subtitle, you call him Walk. I haven't watched Ted Lasso, so apologies if this is a reference to the show and not Walt Whitman.

  • Dana Stewart5 months ago

    Good article. Walt Whitman is one of my favorites. Congratulations on Top Story!

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