A Friendly Reminder That Intention is Basically Meaningless

My life just recently served me up a friendly reminder that intention does not trump perception. It really doesn't matter how good your intentions are, if someone perceives your actions as harmful, then they are harmful.

That's it. You can intend whatever you want, but whether you actually help, entertain, or harm depends on how you are received.

Honestly? It can really suck.

It's not fun to find out that something you were doing for one reason is actually being perceived differently. Especially if you thought you were helping and you were actually harming. Especially if you can't just explain yourself, "fix it" and keep doing the thing.

My initial reaction was to dig in on my intentions: they were good. Very good, I think. Good enough that once I explained them to people, many would agree with me.

Sometimes, you can do that. Sometimes, you can talk to the one or two people you've impacted and once they understand your intention, their perception will change. You are no longer harming.

Sometimes, however, you just have to stop. (I mean, if you care about other people. You are free to choose to knowingly harm people and accept whatever consequences come from that.)

The Receptionist Delivers!
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