I’m laid up in bed with food poisoning that I’ve brought home with me from Amsterdam so it’s time for a blast from the past. After reading through lots of recent comments where people are devoted to trying to work out what someone intended, it was time to revisit the truth about intentions and whether you really need to work out what they did or didn’t mean.
I often hear people talk about ‘intentions’ in respect to their interpersonal relationships:
Of course I intended to do it.
They did intend to do it but something I said or did must have caused them to change their mind.
I don’t think he/she set out with the intention to hurt me.
Intention is all about doing something with conscious purpose.
Many of us do have good intentions generally speaking, but there are some of us who are nothing but intentions which is really a nicer way of saying “I talk a good game but I don’t get up to very much” – too little action.
We also want to see the best in others so we want to believe that no matter what others do, at the heart of it was good intentions and it wasn’t actually their intentions for the consequences that did unfold and the subsequent impact on us to result, which then causes us to invalidate our own feelings.
When we are the type of person that seeks validation from others or internalises other people’s behaviour, we can intrinsically link ourselves with what we perceive someone’s intentions to be and decide that it’s something about us that caused those intentions to change.
This is like having a blinkered belief that everyone is running around intending to ‘do the right thing’ or to be committed or whatever, but if you piss them off or don’t breathe the right way then the plans will change – it’s this blind assumption that people’s intentions never change because of the fact that they’ve changed them for their own reasons that have nothing to do with you or because the purpose never existed in the first place.