One of my favorite sayings is “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” because it explains most problems that arise between people at any given time. Don’t get me wrong. Some people do things out of malice and spite, but in most cases people do or say things because they feel it is the right thing to do. However, just because something SEEMS like the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it IS the right thing to do.
Take all those people who persecuted and burned thousands of women who were accused of being witches. They thought they were protecting their friends, families and neighbors from disease and epidemics. What about doctors who performed lobotomies between the 1930s and 1950s? They believed they were helping the mentally ill. What about the great minds behind prohibition and segregation? What about America’s current war on drugs? All of these things seemed like great ideas at the time, but they caused much more harm than good.
We have all been in situations where we have said or done things with good intentions in mind, but it didn’t turn out the way we planned. Have you ever kept something from a friend because you knew it would hurt them? When the friend found out and learned that you knew about the situation, did they became upset with you? What about the opposite? Have you told a friend something hurtful to help make their life better, but they lashed out at you for telling them? Odds are the answer is yes, making it vital to have a talk with yourself about your actions before you go through with them.
Although we like to think our intentions are always pure, things like jealously and spite can cloud our judgement. Before you do something, explore your motive. Are you speaking up or doing something because it’s the right thing to do or are you doing it just to cause trouble? Will this action benefit others or yourself? Are your own beliefs and convictions clouding your judgment? If you’re honest with yourself, then you’ll come to the right decision.
Another thing you have to consider is how people will react to your words or actions. Even if you have the best intentions of others at heart, some people need to discover and do things on your own. You may want to protect someone and do what’s best for them, but ultimately it’s up to them.