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Intent and Impact


Intentions don’t sanitize impact.

I have considered this statement many times in the past few weeks.

While there are certainly instances of malicious intent in thoughts, feelings and actions, for the most part, many of us operate with the intent to do good, be good, offer good to the world – but what we do isn’t always received in the way we set out to offer it.

This is a prevalent issue, illustrated in many quotes reflecting such a situation and one that comes to mind for me, noting how it can feel when our best intentions go awry, is from Oscar Wilde:

No good deed goes unpunished

It can be frustrating and even paralyzing to consider this consequence – often it turns into, “well, what is the point of doing anything then…I’ll probably get it wrong…someone is going to be mad/hurt and all I was trying to do was help.”

While it is entirely true that we cannot know or control the response of others, we have opportunity in every interaction to listen and learn and then decide if we would like to proceed differently.