Normally, when things begin to go wrong, something prompts the off-course thinking or behavior. It’s often one tiny thing: a comment that hurt your feelings, a false belief you began to think, an image you saw that reminded you of something you wanted to forget, or simply a smell that sent you into the past.
When we go back to the beginning and find that spark that began it all, it’s as if we decoded the mystery or solved some great puzzle. Instead of living in whatever bad mood we find ourselves in–whether anger or jealousy or regret–we can instead seek out the inciting event.
It positions you as a curious, outside observer. And, as my friend Hannah taught me, it’s impossible to be curious and angry at the same time. We step aside for a moment and we enter into curiosity. Why do I feel this way? When did it begin? What am I like when I feel this way? What now?
Curiosity brings peace and a sense of order when we feel out of control.