We know the saying “good intentions pave the way to hell” because it has been said countless times by so many with severely hurt feelings and the focus is on the hell, but there’s often less scrutiny on the means of arriving there. We are often very caught up in the impact of said intentions but what about the heart of the person who was making an effort to do something they thought was right but ended being a shit show? I have been in the inquiry lately of why the “good intention” sometimes results in pain and sadness. People say offensive things which they may not realize is offensive however in their minds, they are saying it with an effort to help and offer guidance. It is a fact that some words do far more harm than good BUT should we just focus on the harm? Is the human delivering the words or actions not worth some kind of A for effort or a little compassion for their intent?
I reflect on the shit one of my great aunts says and if I was a lot more disrespectful I would reply in ways that would hurt her feelings on purpose but I think about her intent. We all have that one relative who ALWAYS has an opinion on someone’s lifestyle, body, sexual orientation and anything they deem as acceptable to comment on but probably shouldn’t. When a meddling aunt offers to share her diet secrets with you because you look a little plump, are you offended? Yes. Should she absolutely shut the fuck up? Yes. However, what if dear old aunt really just wants you to stay alive and be the healthiest version of yourself and she is offering a solution? A wack ass solution, but her intention, in her mind is coming from a place of love. What about when someone fucks up our well-oiled cast iron pan by washing it, scrubbing it and putting a copious amount of Ajax on it to get all the gunk out? Those of us who are kitchen aficionados know about this absolute faux pas, but my 80 something-year-old Trinidadian grandma who believes in everything needing to be spick and span doesn’t know, and her intention is to make it very clean. Am I really going to hold her well-intentioned cleaning against her? YES! I am kidding, I will be a little sad but I can get another cast iron pan.
We are all fallible and we will continue to blunder as long as we continue to breathe and knowing that fact, forgiveness, compassion and having the willingness to see the bigger picture can help us move on from pain sooner. We all have our version of what is right and good, but it isn’t the universal truth for righteous or goodness. We may indulge in our own way and do what we think is rooted in a good intention but the end may not reflect that fact. We feel shitty when we can see that our words or deeds are resulting in harm and the person who we wanted to share our intentions with is not pleased, and there seems to be no resolution. This is where it is clear we have to rely on the forgiveness and the understanding of the other party. We cannot stand in our own way and believe that just because our intentions were good, it doesn’t mean the other person isn’t entitled to feel hurt. Apologize, offer an explanation if they want one and move it right along. The same applies to you when there’s a fallout from the good intentions, but ends in a bad result. You gonna hold a grudge forever?
What kind of life do you want to have? What rules you, love or fear? Fear sees flaws, harm, and blame in everything but love leave room for forgiveness, empathy, and growth to occur. We can grow as people if we share our hurt but also acknowledge and do our best to understand where the other person was coming from and practice peace. We can find the light, lessons, and gems in all situations even if they may hurt at first. Consider the heart of the person with good intention, and be merciful because they may need it. Explain, talk things through and be gracious with your love and energy. We are all doing our very best and if someone does something kind for us but it results in some harm, also consider the goodwill and not just our own hurt feelings. Life is what you make it, and you can absolutely choose to feel however you want but ask yourself if you are helping or harming yourself by focusing on the paved way to hell.