August 15, 2017

How to Keep Good Intentions in Painful Times.

Intention is everything.

Ultimately, all we can control is our motives, the meaning behind our actions, and the intentions that lie beneath how we are outwardly seen.

We cannot anticipate how others will perceive us, nor how our actions will be interpreted by society at large. We are going to be judged, whether it is for being too serious, too silly, too intellectual, too emotional, or what have you.

It doesn’t seem to me that we should give much credence to how we are perceived, looked upon, or judged, other than to clear things up with other people if a mistake has been made.

We cannot totally control whether we hurt people or not, and this is a difficult truth to accept. Being human is complicated, and we will inevitably project our deepest conflicts and disorder onto other people. All we can do is keep ourselves in check to the best of our ability and make sure that we have benevolent and righteous intentions in life.

That is the best we can do.

If all our intentions are in accordance with love, then that’s pretty f*cking great, and surely this will express itself in our lives in one way or another.

I was speaking with a friend recently who has been through a bad break up. He kept running through all of the scenarios in his mind trying to figure out what went wrong, what he could’ve done to salvage the relationship, and how he could’ve fixed it.

This is so common.

We want to control things.

We want it all to make sense.

When things don’t go our way in spite of our good intentions, we chalk it up as being some kind of error and neurotically try to correct it—even though an error likely doesn’t exist.

I have been guilty of this myself.

The fact of the matter is, people break up for good reasons. It almost certainly wasn’t a mistake. It’s just so deeply interpersonal and psychological that it cannot be obviously seen.

Additionally, if we know for a fact that our intentions were loving and benign, we shouldn’t be too concerned with how another person judges us.

I know this is easier said than done, and may even come across as cold at times, but if we are harshly criticized by someone when we feel in our heart of hearts that we’ve done nothing wrong, then the issue lies with the other person. There was an error—it just happens to exist in the psyche of our ex.

There is only one thing we can truly do in moments like these. Let it go and move on. Accept that the other person is on a journey of their own and we so happen not to be part of that journey at this place and time. Move on.

Of course, we should always be assessing our own intentions and the process of doing this is deeply subtle and rigorous. At the same time, a certain amount of trust is involved here—trusting in our ability to strive for the greater good no matter how much it hurts sometimes.

The most powerful human trait, as far as I see it, is the ability to endure suffering while continuing to aspire for love. There is nothing more compelling than this. Having our intentions in order and trusting in those intentions when things get complicated is absolutely essential if we are to love in the face of suffering.


Author: Samuel Kronen
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Editor: Danielle Beutell
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