If behind every behaviour is a positive intention is true, then how come people engage is so many unuseful behaviours?
How come so many people seem to do things that harm other people or themselves if there really is this ‘magical’ positive intention lying behind their actions?
Well there is a big difference between behaviour and positive intention.
All day long we engage in behaviours – behaviours are basically actions, communications, even the pictures we make in our minds, the things we say to ourselves and everything else.
Now we might see someone we like and want to say something nice to them, so we say ‘you look really good today’. Now let’s say they have just had a piece of really bad news delivered to them earlier about a genetic skin problem, to them this ‘compliment’ might be taken as a painful reminder that their looks are not going to last.
The intention was to make the other person feel good, however the behaviour itself might have resulted in the opposite effect.
Behaviours really are separate from intention.
Take an example of a parent who constantly shouts at their children, telling them they are not good enough.
Just for a few moments, consider how on earth this could have a positive intention?
Well, the parent might really actually care deeply about his children but believes that if you just praise people they will never put any effort in to be as good as they can be, so his model is to give them a hard time to try to motivate them into working harder and being the best they might be.
To most people the behaviour would not be interpreted as ‘positive’, but the intention behind it would certainly be.
This also doesn’t justify behaviour – much of the time we aren’t aware of the positive intention behind our behaviour and we just act in ways that don’t seem all that positive. Shouting at people probably doesn’t get the best results for them, even though at an unconscious level this might be the positive intention.
However the only way to really deal effectively with behaviour is to become aware of the positive intention that lies behind it.
Once we are aware of that positive intention, we can acknowledge it and find a better way to achieve the positive intention.
So think about a behaviour you engage in that you don’t really like that much – for example smoking, over eating, drinking too much…
Take a little time to ask yourself ‘what does that do for me?’
If you’re not sure, then just take the first response that comes into your mind.
Often the real intention is at a deep unconscious level and you need to tune into it.
Just acknowledging the positive intention is a powerful start.
Much of the time we try to ignore the things we don’t like about ourselves and by doing so we give them more power…
Take time to tune into what really is going on inside and this itself will help you to change it.