„Why can't I stick to my routines?“ „How come some people have it so easy regarding habit change?“ „Will I ever get my life in order?“ Maybe you have begrudgingly asked yourself some form of these questions regarding your own (in)ability to change. You, just like many people, may be genuinely bewildered by the fact that some people seem to be getting along with their growth so well, while you yourself struggle on a daily basis. Let’s disregard for a moment the obvious – comparison to others has never brought anything good. Not only are you not ever seeing the full picture of what any given person is going through and fighting with, but it also leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that makes it hard for you to have a self-image that isn’t tainted. You are not flawed. We all struggle. Everyone is in pain in some aspect of their life.
However, as differently coloured as our struggles are (mine is purple for some reason! 😊), I have observed a few elements shared by people who seem to be having sustainable and lasting success with personal growth and introducing positive changes into their life.
These elements are: 1. Setting their own well-being as one of their top priorities in life 2. Taking their mental and physical health seriously, yet not taking themselves too seriously 3. A willingness to let go of the idea of “quick fixes” and invest time into deep, thorough work on themselves
What is common to all of these key ingredients? CURIOSITY.
Think about it, what does the quality of curiosity entail? In order to be curious, we need to look at things lightly enough to let go of preconceived notions, yet examine them closely enough to see all of their details. When we are curious about a flower we have never seen before, the curiosity would vanish into thin air by us claiming that “the flower is most certainly a dandelion!” when it is in fact blue, shaped completely differently and of a strong pungent scent. It would also evaporate by us turning to focus on an arriving WhatsApp message instead of the sensations it brings to our senses. Curiosity by definition requires close and light attention detached from expectations. Likewise, being curious about ourselves requires us to shed judgments of who we are or ought to be, and simply observe what is happening in the moment. And in order to pay close attention to ourselves, we need to set ourselves as a priority (at least from time to time), so that we are not dragged away into obligations, distractions and cravings.
Curiosity also isn’t bound by time. When an object, person or phenomenon sparks our curiosity, we do not set a timer delimiting how long our attention will stay on it. We don’t meet people we like and are intrigued by and announce that we want to see their “best traits in 5 days or less” or we will turn elsewhere. Well, I have seen this happen in the dating world 😊 But it has not, to my knowledge, sparked a healthy, lasting relationship. And neither will the “quick fixes” and speedy growth we harshly expect from ourselves and others yield any lasting results.
Lasting change requires dedication. And dedication cannot be forced or rushed. It is a gentle, steady and slow-paced process, like a good, healthy and wholesome marriage. Much like healthy relating requires a detached curiosity and admiration of the human we decided to love, so does doing our own work of cleaning out our life from unhealthy habits and behaviours and finding sustainable ones that are in line with our values and goals.
It requires soft listening. A deep intrigue for our own body, mind and what we can do with them.
How intrigued are you by YOU right now? Can you non-judgmentally observe how you are sitting, breathing, being in this very moment?
If not, no worries. Curiosity is, like many things, a skill. And the attention and listening it requires can be trained. I will be offering free videos on how to build exactly those traits, so follow me on the social media accounts of Restful Sleep (Instragram: https://www.instagram.com/restfulsleep.eu/ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/restfulsleep.eu) and start building self-curiosity today to see the quality of your life, sleep, health and relationships exponentially grow.
May you all find gently delighted amazement in yourself.