Why Intent Isn’t the Only Thing that Matters

Couple communicating

Have you ever said “I didn’t mean it like that” or “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings” or even “You took that the wrong way”?

Most likely, your answer is yes. At one point or another, we’ve all shared our “intent” behind our words and actions with someone we care about. 

The role of intent.

Sharing our intent is important. It helps others understand where we are coming from and explains why we did or said what we did. This can lead to understanding on the part of the recipient and clear up confusion about our actions.

The role of impact.

At the same time, our intent isn’t the only thing that matters. We must also consider the impact of our behavior.

While intent acknowledges the reason why we said or did something, impact is the effect of our behavior on another person.

This is important because sometimes we hurt others’ feelings without meaning to, and those feelings deserve to be acknowledged, whether or not you agree with them.

The power of intent and impact together.

When we consider not only our intent but also how our actions impacted someone else, we give context to our behavior and seek to understand how our actions were received. 

The end result of discussing both intent and impact is that both people feel heard and understood, thereby strengthening the connection in the relationship.

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