“My intentions were good!” How many times have I heard or said that? An action based on a good intention can seem to be the right thing to do at the time. Yet, an intention may give itself permission to act outside of conscious awareness. Thus, a hidden intention in a limited awareness bubble.
I’ve heard it said, “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” Some of us take that idea seriously when inserting our own special kind of service to our world. Yet, an unsuspecting do-gooder can face disapproval or worse for their well-intentioned interference.
Sometimes, even when my heart is in the “right place” I end up hurting myself or someone else. Because my heart desires connections, I have to wonder why my intentions result in disconnection. Could I be unconsciously pitting one intention against another?
And So, the War Begins!
Perhaps I have a war raging between intentions. The intention to survive may view the intention to connect as a lower priority than personal safety, for example. Relationships present ambiguous threats to safety! This is a perfect environment for conflict – a war of intentions!
My intentions are always about problem-solving for the better. This is particularly confusing when the problem is my ambiguous intentions.
All too often, I have no idea how a hidden intention invaded my actions that hurt people. I trust that if I say I had good intentions, others will somehow give my hurtful behaviors a pass. I think I can escape accountability for my intended behavior by excusing it with “best intentions.” The real intention, then, was to protect myself from accountability for my unconscious actions.
Here are some questions I can ask myself to help reveal my conflicting intentions in personal relationships:
- What am I feeling right now? What do I imagine others are feeling right now?
- How does this difference in feelings present a conflict of intentions?
- Why do I need to make others feel this way?
- Who am I? Who would I rather be?
Stopping the War of hidden Intentions!
The default is ambiguity. Ambiguity allows my defensive self some latitude in its plausible deniability. That is, I can always fall back on, “I didn’t intend… blah, blah, blah!” and, “My intentions were good.”
Observing the reactions of others opens a window into my own hidden intentions. It’s not too late to ask a question. It doesn’t have to be painful, and it’s not a waste of time! Asking some useful questions can help clarify ambiguous intentions and maybe stop the war. Communicating clear intentions tends to clarify understandings in relationships.