“I don’t know where we stand. I need another week to decide,” my boyfriend said to me through the phone.
“No, I can’t do this for another week,” I replied as I mustered my courage to say the frightening, subsequent words that would leave me single once again.
What would be on the other side of this conversation? Part of me wanted to find out. I had to let my curiosity lead in a calm, fearless manner. I recalled one of my favorite How I Met Your Mother quotes: “The future is scary, but you can’t just run back to the past because it’s familiar. Yes, it’s tempting, but it’s a mistake.”
The past meant allowing him to make the decisions while I was captive to his whims. No, the future looked more tempting this time.
What’s going to happen if I’m single again? From past experience, I knew it would involve heartbreak. I knew it would be difficult, but I also knew it would lead to new chapters and new opportunities. Sometimes it’s circular, and it leads back to where I began, with the same person, but that’s not an idea to cling to or expect.
Curiosity was enticing me to discover how it would be different this time, exercising my limitless growth mindset. The only certain outcome would be independent responsibility for myself and my heart. No one else would assume that responsibility.
When you put your curiosity out there, you’re rolling the dice, taking a risk, and facing a fear. If what you desire matches what meant for you, it will appear in time. As the title implies, curiosity is greater than fear. What’s on the other side? What’s calling to you? What’s tugging at your heart?
How to choose curiosity over fear:
Baby steps – In yoga school in India, my teacher used to say, “Day by day, with practice you will improve.” Once I made a conscious effort to notice the small changes, the larger, looming changes didn’t seem so daunting. How can you break your action into baby steps? Let your curiosity lead you to your decision, day by day, step by step.
Reflection – What worked well as a result of your decision? What would you change? Would you do it again? Ask yourself these questions to refine your approach.
Repetition – Do it again. People always ask me how I have the courage to travel alone. I reply that I’m persistently challenged by fear. Curiosity always wins.
If you open yourself to new emotions, experiences, and temptations, you will find that your world unfolds organically. Exercise your truth and agency to challenge conventions and the status quo. Let go of the fear that is holding you back, and let curiosity win.
By: Anne Castagnaro
Anne Castagnaro is a teacher education professor, yoga and meditation teacher, and lifelong traveller based in Southern California. She earned a PhD in Education, but doesn’t restrict that knowledge to the elementary classroom. Instead, holistic education that grounds itself in life lessons pervades her teaching. Anne loves cats, veggie burritos, and dangly earrings. Check out Anne's blog and her Instagram.