Be Kind to Your Mind

Jun 8, 2022

Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.

Dalai Lama

Have you ever thought it weird that every psychometric quiz that seemingly deep-dives into your mind to make you happy, whether it’s about saboteurs and blind spots that stop you, or significant strengths and opportunities that would start you, end with the same few behavioural recommendations? All of them advise to be kind, loving, compassionate, grateful and accepting.

Don’t take my word for it. Take the top 10, 20 or 50 such tests ranked in order of the gullible numbers who resort to these surveys, seemingly for want of something better to do, and challenge me if you find anything different. You know where to reach me.

Occasionally, you might find fanciful words like flow, resilience, grit etc., the explanation for which words would be in 300-page tomes costing $50. ‘There is a sucker born every minute’ a great sage said, and that’s perhaps an underestimate. How long does it take us to realise that all we need to be is to be kind to ourselves others to remove all the kinks in our invalidated minds, and this in turn would bring in love, compassion, gratitude and acceptance? If we cannot do something so simple, any amount of introspection into saboteurs, blind spots and derailers would be useless.

What is kindness? Etymology says it’s derived from kind as in humankind, and as in kindred spirits. Kindness is in our DNA. This is why Dalai Lama says it’s possible. It becomes difficult to be kind to others when we are not kind to ourselves. We need to start at home base.

I may seem unkind when I say what I say. I am just being truthful, authentic, genuine, caring, empathetic and generative in a coach-like way. When it’s so simple to understand what it means to be kind and how to be kind, what makes us so complicated that we need multiple surveys, books and programs to understand how to happy by being kind? All that they do to make some guys rich and leave you more confused.

The 3-year long pandemic has created irrevocable changes to our daily lives. The effect of loss of lives around us, sometimes near and dear, and lifestyle changes forced upon us and people around us have affected our minds irrevocably. Whether school-age children, working adults or retired seniors, our levels of anxiety given the unpredictability of what might happen have gone beyond anything previously experienced. The most worrying aspect of the pandemic’s impact on mental health appears to be concerning young people. Some have termed the youth as the ‘lost generation’. Social-emotional learning (SEL) post-pandemic has become crucial in helping our young shape their lives using emotional intelligence techniques.

The simplest and most powerful way to be intelligent, cognitively, emotionally, spiritually and behaviourally is to kind to ourselves and others. Though this is a part of our DNA, it’s easy to lose it. So, it needs to be learnt and taught. 4 simple steps to kindness are to

  1. Inquire gently, with humility and vulnerability what’s disturbing, why and what the speaker would like to happen to be better?
  2. Listen with a curious mind, without judging, with empathy to understand the emotions of the speaker, and generatively with the intent to help.
  3. Acknowledge what you have listened to appreciatively, sharing honestly how deeply you have been touched.
  4. Let your face, body, voice and energy reflect that you care, projecting love and gratitude that the speaker chose you to share.

With some training and practice, you can start with yourself first. It’s not possible to be kind to others unless we are kind to ourselves.

A 5-year-old can learn these simple steps, the same way they learned to speak and walk. All they need is people to imitate. The lamp that the Buddha said he lit in the hearts of his disciples, entreating them to light in every heart they meet, is the lamp of kindness.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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