I witness curiosity—the intense desire to know or learn—in varying degrees in my children. One of my kiddos pretty much takes life at “face-value,” accepting whatever comes his way, not questioning much. But another truly leaves “no stone unturned,” examining life and situations and probing deeper, often going into further study.
When small my daughter could often be found squatting, bum barely above the ground with her nose also just centimeters above what she was intensely investigating. This curiosity has morphed into an amazing foundation of knowledge and the confidence to examine and understand her world and why she feels the way she does about so many aspects of her young life.
Embracing curiosity about life, situations, feelings, and relationships is important. The struggle to manage and cope with contradictory positive and negative feelings—a key theme in human relationships—can be even more thematic in adoption, because at its core is loss.
Being curious is the first step to owning both the positive and negative aspects of your emotions, and yourself. Negative feelings are difficult to face sometimes. We don’t like experiencing them. We don’t like how they make us feel: guilty, or angry, or sad, or misunderstood, or…
Unacknowledged, feelings won’t just disappear; they will continue to fester, affecting relationships with others and with yourself, and possibly emotional and physical health. Over time the ability to manage uncomfortable and conflicting feelings can lead to understanding, courage, acceptance, and healing. Curiosity is an opportunity—to grow, to put one foot in front of the other, to examine and make peace with the “narrative,” moving forward to heal.
Parents: Do you wonder about your contradictory feelings and why you feel that way? What about your child? Have you begun to validate, address and help them navigate their feelings?