Do you really have to be cruel to be kind?

Via Aminda R. Courtwright
on Feb 12, 2011
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The only religion is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
George Sand

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.
Albert Schweitzer

ARC’s Life Manifesto

Stay Present

Practice Patience

Cultivate Gratitude

Maintain Flexibility

Be Kind and Gentle

Remain Humble & Open Minded

Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

And above all else

Love Deeply

What does it mean to be kind? Let’s start again with the dictionary:

having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature; used especially of persons and their behavior; “kind to sick patients”; “a kind master”; “kind words showing understanding and sympathy”; “thanked her for her kind letter”

kindness – the quality of being warmhearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic

I wrote this manifesto to include the qualities I find most admirable in others. I strive to live up to this list, admittedly I am still striving. I consider myself nice, but not always kind. Honest, forthright, oh yes, these things I am, but this honesty can often come across unkind, harsh.  When I think of kindness I envision that person whose softness of character makes people feel warm and fuzzy no matter what.   I know sometimes bluntness is necessary to help us move past comfort and sameness…I know sometimes we need bricks dropped on our heads in order to get the message. Myself, I am getting more and more aware and sensitive to the messages I need to hear and I’m realizing that less and less do I need the harsh cold slap of reality to get me going…so I’m feeling less need to be tha hammer in people’s blind spots…Personally, I would like to be the gentle nudge, the slow steady reminder that washes over people…but it’s a process

I am refining the process; I see glimpses of her, that person I am becoming. She appears most often in yoga classes; kind, encouraging, positive, guiding, leading….outside of that roll? Well, she is starting to emerge more and more.

But considering my own husband told me just last week that I was mean…I suppose I have some work to do (he didn’t appreciate the anti-meat campaign video with graphic scenes of pig death while eating his pulled pork…I guess it was kind of mean?) But that has been how I have rolled for a long time…you want to know what I think? I probably already told you — and thatin your face tough girl is a persona I identify with so it’s a slow but steady progress to a kinder, more palatable me.

Can I find that balance of satya (truth) and kindness…does truth have to be harsh?  Have you found it?

Asana (yoga pose) of the week:

Shoulderstand  – Sarvangasana

Massage out the throat and thyroid, we learn to speak the truth from a place in our heart.

Wellness Tip of the Week:

Be kind to yourself.  If we start our kindness practice within, it can grow.  When we love and cherish ourselves enough to speak kindly to ourselves that spills out onto those around us.  Notice how your day changes, your health even, if you start your day looking in the morning and telling yourself that you are beautiful, loveable and important?



About Aminda R. Courtwright

Aminda is a wellness facilitator and founder of ARCreated Wellness, LLC. A yoga teacher, transpersonal hypnotherapist, and Reiki Master, she shares her own healing journey with others in hopes of inspiring and uplifting those she meets. Her yoga classes are gentle and workshop style to invoke a real sense of learning and designed to be truly accessible for all levels. Her biggest hope is to help others take their yoga practice off the mat and into everyday life where it is truly meant to be experienced. (and can be most useful) Refusing to settle into the middle path just yet she prefers to dally on both edges and can be seen swinging right and leaning left. A devoted animal lover and activist and a humanist she is prone to rants and believes strongly that life is to be savored and that “we are all in this together, shouldn’t we enjoy it that way? “ When she isn’t teaching yoga, hypnotizing people, adoring her husband or doting on her grandson she is out riding her motorcycle—promoting the image that yogis are rebels and are a force to be reckoned with! You can also find her on Facebook. To join her for free classes online follow her here.


6 Responses to “Do you really have to be cruel to be kind?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waylon Lewis, jim collins, Michael P Adams, Franki deMerle, Red Fox and others. Red Fox said: Do you really have to be cruel to be kind? […]

  2. Enjoying this series.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    (Join Elephant Yoga on Facebook)

  3. Tamara says:

    Really enjoyed this Aminda. It's a great question and something I work with myself. Speaking truth, yet speaking it with kindness…I think sometimes if we hold our truth in too long it can come out forcefully. Something so many women I know are learning and practicing! Thank you for writing this.

  4. yogiclarebear says:

    "I am refining the process; I see glimpses of her, that person I am becoming. She appears most often in yoga classes; kind, encouraging, positive, guiding, leading….outside of that roll? Well, she is starting to emerge more and more."

    Love that…so encouraging!

  5. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for your vote for kindness, such a simple practice that can transform our worlds. When I was immersing myself in yama study as I was writing my first book, I realized that for me, while ahimsa and satya are both vital to practicing right speech, ahimsa always takes precedence. No matter how difficult the situation, I find that if I look deeply enough I can always figure out a way to tell the truth from a place of kindness and respect, and in a way that will not harm another. This sometimes means I can't spit out the first thing that comes to mind! I suspect this is a lifelong practice.

  6. […] How can we be simultaneously compassionate to the needs of others and indifferent to the stimulation, abrasive longing and empathetic pain of this strange and maddening world? Do we really have to be cruel to be kind? […]