Why I Assume You All Have Good Intentions

Woman with chin in handsYears ago I was previewing a training video for work, what the video was about, I can’t begin to tell you, but there was one line that struck me:

“…always assume the best of intentions.”

And that advice has stuck with me ever since.We all have good intentions, really

What I didn’t realize was just how much that advice had stuck with me until I started listening more closely to myself.

I say it to my fellow moms….I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “No mom on the planet sets out to screw up her kids…it doesn’t mean we don’t on occasion, but really, we’re all out there doing the best we can.” In other words, we have good intentions.

I say it at work…I’m a firm believer that no employee comes to work to do a bad job. Sure, an employee might do a bad job from time to time, but not because they are trying to (usually). In other words, they have good intentions.

I say it at home, usually to my kids when they’ve been on the receiving end, “Did so and so mean to hurt your feelings?” Not usually. It’s amazing, most people have good intentions but kids especially have good intentions.

And recently, I’ve found myself using those same words when referring to myself….I find myself walking a fine line right now, saying and doing things that may not be completely welcome. But I promise you, it’s all coming from a place of good intentions.

“Always assume the best of intentions….”

Clearly, it’s a mantra that’s served me well.

when good intentions go wrong

Sadly, our good intentions are often overshadowed by our actions which occasionally go awry.  We jumble the words, we use the wrong tone, we say the wrong thing, we do the wrong thing, we make the wrong face, we look the wrong way, we laugh when we shouldn’t, we step on toes, we hurt feelings – we’ve all said or done the wrong thing, not because we want to, but because we’re human.

Imperfect beings.

Works in progress.

With good intentions.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all been guilty of good intentions gone awry.

And likely we’ve been on both ends of that equation.

How many times have you found yourself bothered by something someone said or did? How many times have you found your feelings hurt by a passing conversation or in an email or text string? How many times have you played those events over and over in your head?

When I’m the one on the receiving end, when I’m the one with the hurt feelings, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and to apply a filter, to look at it differently, to assume the best of intentions.

And when I do that, most of the time, it becomes clear to me that the person on the other side had good intentions, they weren’t trying to hurt my feelings…even if they did.

So, I’ve decided, from here on out, I’m assuming the best of intentions in hopes that others might do the same. Why? Because, I know one thing for sure, everything I do, is done with good intentions.



Is this philosophy a perfect way of looking at things? Of course not – nothing in life is ever perfect. But assuming you have good intentions sure has made me more forgiving of others, of myself.

And one thing we could all use a little bit more of is a little bit of forgiveness in our lives.




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1 Response

  1. Debrah McCabe says:

    Excellent! Good writing and good philosophy!

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