Samuel Jackson once said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intent is not always enough to overpower the consequences of our actions.
For example, when we want to help our children by controlling them, our intent does not really matter. The consequence of a misguided desire to help creates an insecure child who believes he is incapable of self-reliance. While it can help to explain our intentions to others, it still does not take away the pain our actions have caused them.
Most of us have spread hatred inadvertently too. Few of us intentionally mean to be hateful towards someone, but we justify it by the worth of our own intentions. Here are the top habits to watch out for. Photo Credit: Pexels
1. We Believe We Are More Virtuous
Believing that we are more virtuous than others puts us in a dangerous place. Those who believe they are better people tend to give themselves too much of a pass. If the motives are good, then the results and actions do not matter. When we judge others for something we do, we justify it by saying that our intentions are better. Yet, we have no right to judge another person if we are doing exactly the same thing as them. We also have no right to assume we are more virtuous. Humans are flawed creatures. If we do not understand another person’s position, we can get to learn about them more before passing judgment.
2. We Imagine People as Enemies
When we get upset at a person or situation, we sometimes see them as the enemy. We do not see them as a person who made a mistake, or hurt us once or disagrees with us. We see them as someone who deserves to be punished. The problem is that someone may think the same way about us. And how would we react to that? We must try to decrease our hatred for others and stop seeing them as inherently bad. If they have truly hurt us, then we can enact boundaries to avoid future confrontations. But it is not healthy to harbor so much stored up resentment in our hearts.
3. We Gossip and We Slander
Gossiping does not stop once we graduate middle school. Everyone gossips. Coworkers gossip. Our boss gossips. Our friends gossip. We gossip. While the vast majority of us have engaged in gossip once in a long time, regular gossip is not healthy. We must remember how we would feel if we knew someone was talking about us the way we talk about them. It is easy to get caught up in the mob mentality and gang up on someone. Slander and libel are also common. Sometimes we think it is justified to slander someone because the person is “the enemy”. A lie about someone is a lie, regardless of whether we like the person or not.
4. We Play Victim and We Do Not Take Responsibility
If someone tells us that we hurt them, we immediately become defensive. We only see how their words impact us, rather than how we may have impacted them. We again go back to our intent. I did not mean to hurt you. I did not mean to control you. I did not mean to slander you. What we mean and what we intend does not always matter. What does matter is that we hurt someone and caused them pain. Perhaps it was inadvertent and truly an accident. Refusing to take responsibility is a result of insecurity and a way to remain in control of others. We are all human and are all prone to shortcomings. Learning from our mistakes and our personality flaws can help us to improve in the future.
Do you struggle with resentment, anger, or anxiety? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.