The Hearts Intent

Originally Posted on March 7, 2016 by BJ Howell.

I recently saw a post in my Facebook feed that read: “There are people who will take advantage of your kindness.   Selfishness is their problem, not yours… You must never change.”  It came at the right time, as lately, I have been wondering if I’m too naive or too forgiving. Maybe it’s a combination of both.  I am a firm believer that you have to be vulnerable to have genuine relationships. So regardless if it’s family, friend, significant other or anything in between, you have to be willing to open your heart, with the expectation that you may get hurt. The alternative is having superficial relationships, which, while they definitely come in handy and serve a purpose, as a standalone, they are unfulfilling. 

So, depending on the interaction, even if it is calculated, being open on some level is a necessity.  However, when the situation is not ideal and that openness is not reciprocated, or something goes astray, I find myself giving chance after chance for it to be corrected or giving space for the other person to somehow make it “right”. Part of it is knowing that I don’t have the full picture and thinking that there is something that I am missing that will fill in the empty spaces, giving a valid reason and rhyme to their behavior.   What if I misinterpreted what was said?  What if they are hurting or in need?   Or what if they just haven’t been shown the kindness that I have and simply don’t know how to receive it or return it?  There is so much that can hide behind miscommunication and behavior that  sometimes  I have a hard time leaving it and walking away and there are other times when I am too quick to walk away.  Regardless, even after I walk away, if that person needed me, I would still be there… 

I guess that’s a hazard of being a therapist… It can be hard to separate personal and professional, in terms of dealing with feelings. I allow too much thinking and too much leeway for other people’s feelings.  While it works out sometimes, sometimes it does not. Coming to terms with the fact that some people simply don’t have the same morals, sincerity and heart that I have has taken time and it’s something I’m still coming to terms with. For some people, lying and manipulation are a way of life, while for others past hurts prevent them from experiencing life, and love completely. So, while I know there are bad people in the world, I also know that there are hurt people in the world.  Sometimes, unfortunately, the behavior resembles.  And it is almost impossible to decipher the intent of someone else’s behavior.   

While I am no fan of pain and confusion, I do realize that I am making the conscious decision to give them the benefit of the doubt, which raises the question of what is right and what is wrong. It’s almost like hesitating when a homeless person asks for money. I used to wonder, if they would use the money appropriately or would they go buy alcohol or drugs.  I’ve since stifled that internal argument. It’s the intent of my actions that matter. Once I release the intent, what they choose to do is not my concern.  It is not the determining factor in why I give. I give because it is in my heart to do so. 

So, I have resolved to approach this issue the same way. I cannot control anyone else’s feelings or behavior, only my own. I know that if I remain tight as a bud, not allowing myself to experience emotions, then I rob myself of actually living. My intent drives my behavior and my actions. And I have come to realize that regardless of the outcome, there is beauty in the purity of my hearts intent.  And that is definitely something the world needs more of…

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