psychology

Nurturing a Relational Mindset

This essay first appeared in Insights: Journey into the Heart of Contemplative Science and is reproduced with permission from the Mind & Life Institute. When I was a junior in college, I signed up for a course on meditation and developmental psychology. On the first day of class, the professor asked each student to write on a notecard, “the voice in your head that you wish you didn’t have to listen to throughout the day.” I felt apprehensive. I didn’t know my classmates, and everyone appeared put together, attractive, confident, and more at ease than I felt. We privately wrote on our cards, turned them in, and a few moments later, the professor read aloud our statements: “You are not worthy to be loved.” “You will never amount to anything.” “It’s only going to get worse.” My perception of myself and my classmates instantly changed—from skepticism and distance to care and solidarity. In that moment, I saw myself and the other students in a new light. We were united by an invisible thread of internalized …