by Paul Duriez, Blue Ocean Therapies
Following on from my previous blog about Knowing Yourself where we talked about Attention I would like to move us on to take a look at Intention.
In the 1991 film version of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin Hood’s sidekick, Azeem (Morgan Freeman) said this “man only has perfect intentions, never perfect actions”. “It was never my intention to hurt or upset you” have been commonplace phrases in my life, I have always acted with good intent, but that has often blown up in my face, leaving me feeling misunderstood and sometimes broken-hearted that people would think bad of me.
So why are so many of us so misunderstood when often it is only good intention that is at the core of our actions?
The problem for most people is that there is a lack of understanding of what our intention is. We have this vague feeling that our intention is good, but in truth we tend to follow a pattern of learned behaviour that we have never stopped to mindfully consider whether this intention is either wanted or appropriate.
To consider the “why” of what we believe is one of the core principles to a peaceful and fulfilling life, when you know the “why” you can live with any “how”, but to know the “why”, means that you need to go on a journey of self- discovery.
Although that may seem daunting, it is actually the road to inner freedom. Where the quality of your life and your relationships are not tossed about like a small boat in a stormy sea. Even when you are misunderstood, when you have done what you have done from a mindful place, to be able to maintain inner peace, wholeness and self-worth is true freedom.
This ability comes from knowing yourself and therefore knowing why you do the things that you do. It is accepting that everybody else is on their own journey, even if they have got stuck in the same place for a long time, no matter who you are the journey only ends with death, but its what you do on that journey that will count.
To do nothing is a choice, to move on into self-discovery is a choice, it’s about taking responsibility for our own life. To stop blaming everything and everyone else is the first step.
Being misunderstood is often rooted in the lack of understanding we have of ourselves, when you truly know yourself, your intentions will be clear and have integrity. The journey to knowing yourself opens your eyes to the people and situations that are in your life and the journeys they are on. In truth, most of us are in the same boat, tossed about in the small boat and in a thick fog.
Being clear is always helpful but from an understanding that what you say or do will be seen or heard through the beliefs of the other. If they have low self-worth for example a comment that is spoken with the intention to build them up can be taken as a criticism and reenforce their low self-worth beliefs.
“Oh for goodness sake, I just can’t win” can be a common feeling, shifting that feeling of being a helper to being a victim. Self-pity can begin to soak in through your skin and you begin to feel terrible, often angry, the desire to strike back can become overwhelming. You can find yourself saying hurtful things to the person your intention was to build up, and what an unholy mess it becomes, often rolling on for hours or sometimes days, and each time it happens it erodes a little bit of each of you.
Understanding yourself, and understanding that every single person goes through inner struggles, self-doubt and feelings of shame will break you free,
No one is perfect, and those that appear to have a perfect life certainly do not, it is an illusion.
So what is a truly good Intention? In my opinion, it is the “Intention of Grace” meaning that my intention is that there is nothing you can do or say that will make me love you more or less. That I don’t need anything from you in return, if I help you it is freely given without any expectation, this means you owe me nothing, that I have no hold on you and therefore you cannot disappoint me or let me down. That is freedom.
Make sure you pop back again next week for the next blog when I will be looking at Attitude.