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I am a lifelong learner and in a recent class aimed to expand skills and experience as a coach, one of the guiding principles proposed was “first do no harm”.  It would never occur to me to purposefully hurt someone, but it made me stop and think about all the people I know with ADHD that have been hurt by thoughtless comments, lack of awareness and misunderstandings about their ADHD.

We seem to be living in a world that gets less kind every day. Being different, visible or not, seems to make someone especially vulnerable. Looking closely at the hurt, pain and loneliness so common with persons with ADHD, it appears there is unawareness of the harm we do, or we ignore the harm we do, or we intentionally do harm because it makes us look better, or sadly in some cases we do harm for our own pleasure and enjoyment. I would like to think it is because we don’t know better.

How do we learn to do no harm?

If we haven’t been taught to do no harm, we see no harm in doing harm. We cause harm and shrug it off. We cause harm and laugh about it. We cause harm and brag about it.

Sadder still, our children bear witness to our actions and never learn to do no harm themselves and the cycle continues. What would be possible if we made a choice to treat each other with greater respect and compassion?

When we become aware of, “Do no harm”, because we can feel pain and suffering, we can imagine the pain and suffering of others, and we can act accordingly to minimize the harm we cause. We can live intentionally doing no harm.

What does “do no harm” mean? Ultimately it means to give thoughtful consideration to our actions. “Do no harm” simply means to consider how our actions may affect the world we all share, to be compassionate in our dealings with others, especially others different than us like those with ADHD, with the creatures of this world, and perhaps even not to thoughtlessly despoil our planet.

Doctors are asked to “first do no harm.” Why not us? Why not now? I am glad that “first do no harm” is being incorporated on a conscious level into the coaching profession.

It sounds like a simple idea because it is a simple idea.  Will “do no harm” solve all the problems in our world? Perhaps not, but it might just decrease the suffering in the world and increase the kindness.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Maybe, “do no harm” can become that little voice that guides our actions. And maybe if we do no harm, then someone else will do no harm…and it will keep going and going and going.

Let me know what you think.  Do you think a little bit more of “do no harm” could make a difference?

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a new year full of kindness and compassion!

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