Curiosity vs Battling

Quite often we listen for ammunition. We listen while inwardly keeping score of how many ways the other person differs from our own point of view--is "wrong"--and then we clobber them, however subtly, with our rebuttals and proofs that what they are saying is not right. Conversations become duels, each person asserting his and her right-ness, shutting the other person down. If things remain this way too long, contempt eventually locks us in its inescapable knot until the only way to escape is to cut the relationship. "An eye for an eye and soon the whole world is blind." (M.K. Gandhi)

When we travel or see a movie, we usually open to the experience like curious children, wondering what's happening around the next corner, in the next scene, excited to see something new and surprising. And yet with those we know well, or strangers we stereotype, we anticipate what they are going to say and begin the argument before they have even finished a sentence.

What would happen if tonight, tomorrow, we decided to do something different with those we argue with or think we know so well. What if instead we just got curious about who this person is and what he thinks? When they say something that isn't our way of seeing things, we can ask them, kindly, to "tell me more about that, please? I am genuinely curious to understand your perspective." Who knows, they might get curious in return...

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