Bad consequences/outcome? Yes, HORRIBLE. But not for bad intentions. No bad intentions here. Only good ones.
What is a “bad intention?” And why in the world is it so important whether mass murderers have good or bad intentions?
Because the way we interact with people – everything from how we treat them to how we act around them – is based on the intentions we think they have. And the more we can see good intention in even the most obscene of actions, the less we become paralyzed by fear and anger and the more we can keep a calm, open mind when they happen.
Positive people have a very key skill: they not only are able to interact with people who are negative, mean, abusive, and so forth – much of the time they are even able to reason with such people and get them to do good things!
We’ll all have moments where we have to work with people that are awful to be around. The self-centered boss who doesn’t give a shit about your comfort. The manipulative family member whom you wish you could cut out of your life. That neighbor of yours who seems to get off on starting drama with you. As much as possible, you want to distance yourself from such destructive energy. But sometimes you can’t. So what do you do?
You literally make the best of a bad situation. By finding the best in the person/people you are stuck with. In other words, find the good intentions underneath all the garbage.
Now, before we continue, let’s get one thing straight: understanding someone’s motivations to destructive behavior does not excuse them from correcting their behavior. It does not at all mean that you should tolerate unacceptable behavior. What it does mean, though, is that for a moment, you separate the person’s behavior from who they are. You become able to think, “I do not approve of what this person is doing, but I do understand why they do it and I know that this is not all there is to them.” You can actually think of yourself as “on their side,” in a way, rather than as your enemy – and this is a tremendously helpful way to keep your energy positive in such situations.
And what if somebody’s intention is pure revenge? Well, revenge is not a bad intention… rather, it’s a good intention – to “get justice” by giving the other person “what they deserve.” Seeking justice comes from a place of good intentions. The real problem with revenge is not the intentions, but rather a false sense of what justice really is.
It is said, for good reason, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Because every intention is a good one, if you really examine it. If a person you know and have a relationship with yells at you and insults you, it’s likely that they have good intentions of getting your attention and establishing communication with you. Kind of screwed up, because this behavior usually leads to less communication, not more. But still, the intention is a good one: to be heard by you. To pierce through your perceived ignorance of their point of view and “get you on their wavelength,” and thus communicate. They are actually begging for you to reach out, for you to see this burning hole in their soul – and for help in healing it.
There are times, of course, where reaching out to somebody is too difficult or impossible. For example, if a person utterly refuses to listen, or if your safety is threatened. But even if you have to say to yourself, “there is no hope right now with this person” (notice I said right now – things could always change) still, it does a great service to your state of mind to see their good intentions. Even horrible things aren’t quite as horrible if you can make sense of them.
Even if a person is so bad that they are being abusive toward others, there are good intentions. You see, somebody who has to be abusive has a serious problem – THEY are messed up. THEY themselves have been abused (you may sometimes not know their history, but just remember that babies are not born knowing how to abuse; this is learned behavior). Abusive behavior is a reaction to feeling out of control, and the intention is to get back control, which is a good intention despite the heinous actions taken by the person. The real problem here is that the abuser cannot distinguish self-control from other forms of control, so [s]he thinks that controlling others will help solve the inner turmoil [s]he is experiencing. But self-control is a very good intention – see what I mean?
FORGIVENESS – for your sake 🙂
At the end of the day, this is about the power of forgiveness. You may have heard those stories of somebody who was murdered, in which the murderer was locked up… and then, after a while, one of the victim’s closest loved ones come forward and reaches out to the murderer. They are forgiving, letting go of the rage, so they can move on. They often say “I’m forgiving this person for me, not for them.” For the forgiver’s own sense of sanity; to be able to move on. And, often, the reason they reach out is to better be able to understand the murderer’s mindset, in order to get at where things went wrong and be able to see them as a human being, as opposed to a murderer. Because when we see a human being as such – an equal to us, just as important a life as our own – we forget about bad intentions and understand, once again, that human beings make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes can be horrible, that’s all.
This is a rather extreme example, and nobody’s saying you won’t feel excruciating anger that you can’t ignore – you will, sometimes. But to be a positive person, you will need to remember that we all make sense somehow, even if one person’s sense is another person’s folly. And, contained within the deepest reflexes and most subconscious instincts of every person’s mind, is a desire to make progress. Somehow, some way.
Tap into that as much as you can. You’ll bring out the best both in yourself and others, even in those moments when you have no idea how.