Emotions Can Be So Hard To Figure Out

How About Some Curiosity Slowing to Help?

We have all probably been there – maybe even recently.  You are cruising toward work or home on the freeway.  You are making great time!  Then, all of a sudden, everything comes to a standstill.  Bumper to bumper traffic moving less than 10 miles an hour.  You check your Waze App and there is an accident reported up ahead.  Dang it!  This will slow you down!  We all hate this!

You crawl closer and eventually creep up right near the accident.  You are surprised to see that the accident is blocking absolutely no traffic.  It is far from the road.  The cars have been moved to the side of the road.  There is nothing blocking the lanes in front of you!  Nothing!

So, why did traffic slow down?  What is going on here?  We know what it is!  It is “rubber-necking” or curiosity slowing.  In short, people have to stop and look!  The traffic is slowing to a snail’s pace because everyone apparently has to look at what happened.  We all hate it!  We all do it!  We all just have to see what happened.  We are seemingly fascinated with accidents and their clean-up!

This is not without its consequences!  First, it slows everyone down.  Rubber-necking the accident slows everyone’s progress down.  Just a look affects all of us.

Second, curiosity slowing can cause more accidents.  You don’t see it all the time, but sometimes there are two or three additional accidents on the busy freeway after the first one has happened.  What is the cause?  We are looking at the accident and then causing an accident!  Not good!

Third, this slowing to gawk at what happened to someone else produces no benefit for any of us.  Probably 90% of all accidents on the roadway look the same.  There is nothing to see here, folks!  Nothing to see here!  Why can’t we just focus on moving forward?  The emergency help is there!  It is being handled.  Let’s get going!

Curiosity slowing in traffic bad!  Just don’t do it! Curiosity slowing in life is another thing!  We need to do it!  What do I mean by this?

Most of us have never had any classes or instruction on how to effectively manage our emotions.  We head down the roads of life with some training in Algebra that we may never use.  We are current on Geology, but we have no similar training in how to recognize and manage these feelings and emotions that are with us every day of our lives!  What is wrong with this picture?

I use my feelings every day and never had one class or instruction period on how to use them!  This is too long for this post, but as we talk about things like emotional intelligence and such, it is sad to me that we receive no real help in this area!  We need to add this to the curriculum in our schools! Since that is not going to happen soon, I think I want to introduce a “curiosity slowing” approach to handling our emotions.  We can learn how to recognize and feel our emotions!  We can get better and help others to get better!

It is really simple to start (and maybe I will write more in another post!).  When you are hooked by an experience and find yourself emotional, you could slow down and get curious.  It is that simple.  When something overwhelms you, aggravates you, frustrates you, saddens you, and makes you feel all kinds of something, you could take a pause and get curious.

It’s like this!  Let’s say you are driving the kids to school or a soccer game.  Your son suddenly shouts that he has forgotten some important assignment or piece of equipment.  He needs it now!  He has no idea where it is at, what he did with it, or where he saw it last!  He claims the world as we know it will suddenly end if he does not have it right now! So, you lose it emotionally!  You feel a surge of heat start from the gut and move up to your face!  You feel a blast of power and you shout something at him!  Even more, maybe you let go some colorful language (that you do not wish to teach him) and say something you know you will regret later.  You blow up and you blow it!

Of course, this whole thing does not go well from here!  However, there is an opportunity here if you will slow down and look at what happened.  Maybe we can learn from this!  Maybe we can get curious and gain some new insights into ourselves to get this to not happen again!

Emotional Curiosity Slowing is the answer.  What if you stopped and looked at what happened here?  What if you zoomed in on yourself and really looked at this family fender bender?  Here are some questions you could ask yourself to see what really happened:

  • What was going on for me right before this happened?
  • What is going on for me that this bothered me so much?
  • What is it about this situation or even that causes so much upset in me?
  • How was I hooked by this little thing?
  • What about this kind of event always makes me upset or causes me to lose control?
  • What can I learn about myself from my reaction to this situation?

These are just some examples of how we can get curious about the things that trigger negative feelings or emotions in us!  Most of the people I work with suggest that it is often very small things that cause them the most upset.  It is often the littlest thing in a marriage or family or workplace that is the trip wire for a much larger accident.

Curiosity slowing is the answer.  If we could just look a little closer at ourselves, at what is happening for us, and what we can learn from ourselves, we will gain new insights and experience.  This can help us make a change to our trajectories and update the navigation systems in our lives.  This can improve our self-control and our relationships significantly.

So, let’s be curious in our relationships and slow down and look at those things that affect us! Let’s stop looking at what happened to others on the road and stay moving forward!


Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R. Jacobs
Jim R Jacobs is a brave creator who strives to do mighty things! Jim is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator helping others to live more brave and authentic lives! He is the author of Driving Lessons For Life: Thoughts on Navigating Your Road to Personal Growth. Jim speaks professionally, and coaches others to success and living with integrity. He is a counselor, educator, innovator, father, and friend. Please check out Jim R. Jacobs and Driving Lessons For Life and find Jim on social media! Let's connect and dare mighty things!

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