The Compassion of Curiosity

While flying last month, I could not help but notice the significant body art of my seatmate. She had floral images the length of her leg with beautiful lilies, roses, and cherry blossoms. My immediate (and judgmental) thought was, why would anyone want all that permanent ink on their body?

Thankfully, I changed my mind to curiosity, and asked her about the significance of the art, how long it took, if it hurt, and even permission to take a photo of it. She seemed more than happy to share the story of each image and the more I learned about it, the more intrigued I became.

I later recognized this was an act of compassion instead of the judgement I started out with, since our curiosity increases our compassion for these 5 reasons:

1. Curiosity keeps us interested and interesting.
I learned a lot about body art, including how intentional and intricate the technique and meaning are to create the design.

2. Curiosity slows us down.
It’s so easy to make a snap judgment and move on to the next thing, while asking curious questions takes time and attention.

3. Curiosity keeps us present and in the moment.
I connected not just to the body art, but to the woman herself who was wearing it.

4. Curiosity keeps us open.
Learning the story and meaning behind her body art gave me a completely different perspective than I had before.

5. Curiosity feels good to the giver and the receiver.
It felt great to learn about something I had no experience with and my seatmate appeared quite proud to share her story with me.

While I’m not ready to get a tattoo myself, I have a new appreciation for it, knowing more about the intimate expression for those who create and wear it. Choosing curiosity over judgement is an act of compassion and a great way to practice Self-Leadership.

Where could you replace judgement with curiosity to cultivate compassion today?


  1. Ally Bailey on September 1, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Diane – I always look forward to reading your emails. I always learn something new as you phrase things differently than I’ve heard it before.

    As our journeys continue…


    • Diane Sieg on September 2, 2022 at 12:36 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Ally. I’m happy you find my writing valuable.

      Take good care and let the journey end with our last breath!

  2. Christine Sewell on September 2, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you Diane for your wonderful emails. I always enjoy reading them to reflect on how I react/respond to different situations. You do amazing work – thank you!

    Have a great day,

    • Diane Sieg on September 7, 2022 at 10:38 am

      Thank you so much Christine! Reflection to gain awareness is so powerful because can’t change what we don’t see.
      Thank you for YOUR amazing work as well!

      Take good care,

  3. Lee Abramo on September 2, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Diane.
    Thank you so much for your post regarding curiosity versus judgement. In our highly-charged political environment, I find myself irritated and sometime angry about how people can see the same thing yet come up with an entirely different opinion about what they saw. Rather than engage someone in an angry battle, I have learned to not engage at all. This tactic just produces more frustration and anger. Approaching it your way—being curious about someone else’s perspective non-judgmentally— is a much healthier way for people to communicate and obtain a better understanding of belief systems. Thanks again. I feel better already.

    • Diane Sieg on September 7, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Hi Lee,

      Good for you for seeing the value in compassion vs disengagement. When you practice this, everyone feels better!

      Take good care,

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