Curiosity or control? 3


Frustration seeps into my core as I have yet another face-off with my determined offspring. The emotional outbursts leave me exhausted.

I break down as I question (yet again) my parenting style, our mother-daughter relationship, the way I handle the sibling rivalry…I wonder if I might be doing something seriously wrong.

I figure I must be able to find a solution. Surely I can fix this. There has to be a why and a way.

But just when I think I’m making headway, it flies in my face and I feel we are back to square one – right back where we started.

I want answers. I want to make this right. I want to fix it so we can move on harmoniously.

I’m a bit of an idealist. I love to think that we can live without conflict.

But we can’t. We don’t. We won’t.

Life is a cesspool of conflict.

We live with difference. It is both beautiful and absolutely, excruciatingly hard to deal with – especially if we like to be in control.

We like to think we know best. We like to think everyone should think like us – I mean, after all, it makes the most sense doesn’t it?

But I’m beginning to wonder.

What if we came at life with a sense of curiosity rather than control?

Brené Brown writes:

Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to certainty.

I think she’s got a point.

To be truly curious—about another person, another situation, another way of doing, being, thinking, feeling, believing—takes vulnerability.

It also takes courage.

It is admitting that there may be another way. That perhaps there are other possibilities, other perspectives, another ‘normal’ or ‘right’ – admitting that we don’t know everything and that in fact we actually have a lot to learn.

What if we came at conflict from a place of curiosity first, rather than a need to control?

The partner who has been particularly grumpy and uncooperative of late. The mother-in-law who just doesn’t want to see your point of view. The child who just won’t do want you want them to do. The work-mate you just don’t understand, let alone get along with. The school mum who doesn’t seem to ever get her kids to school on time. The neighbour who very clearly holds a different set of beliefs to you. The teacher, the pastor, the politician, the refugee or asylum seeker…

What if we just got curious?

What if we set aside our certainties for just a minute, hopped down off our judgement seats, let down our guard and took off our blinkers?

What might we see?

What might we hear?

What might we learn?

Perhaps we might walk a moment in another’s footsteps.

Perhaps we might understand a little more of another’s journey, another’s heartache, another’s dilemma.

Curiosity may seem to leave you vulnerable, but I also think it’s courageous.

Think curiosity rather than control.



About Esther Murray

As a bit of an idealist, Esther often dreams of a world where kindness is the currency and where no one ever suffers from hunger or mistreatment. In the hopes of making some part of this dream a reality, Esther studied a Bachelor of Social Work. She quickly discovered that she probably wasn’t going to save the world but could simply strive to make a difference in her everyday. Much later, as the sea of nappies, toys, teething and tantrums threatened to engulf the dreams of a former life, Esther began to write. Making meaning of a childhood in the Himalayas, the craziness of motherhood and the state of the world was a much-welcomed creative outlet. Esther loves doing life alongside her husband Clive raising their three young daughters. In her down-time Esther can be found drinking tea (never coffee), tinkering on the piano or bass-guitar, practicing her Urdu, rummaging the op-shops, or attempting some kind of DIY.

3 thoughts on “Curiosity or control?

  • Lucy

    Another great read Est 🙂 I found this writing interesting 🙂 There isn’t enough room here to ask the questions I would like to ask. Is that being curious? 🙂 🙂
    God has given you a marvellous gift Est to be able to put ones thoughts heart into words. Is it contagious? 🙂 🙂 I would love os 🙂

Comments are closed.