Entries in good intentions (1)



I have recently had a number of my patients say that they know that a person [family member or friend] had good intentions but that what they said or did was not helpful. So, what is wrong with good intentions? Most people are familiar with the proverb [aphorism?] that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This has been explained as it is not enough to intend to do good things but one must actually do them.  Another has to do with possible unintended consequences after one acts on their good intentions. It seems that one can have good intentions for themselves as well as for others. So, it is considered bad if we have good intentions but never act on those intentions. This may be true for good intentions for ourselves but my concern is that good intentions for others may represent thinking we know what is best for others and by acting on these intentions end up taking over and making it harder for others to make decisions for themselves.  

I believe that we can't know what is best for other people because we are not them. People must take responsibility for themselves and make their own decisions. There seems to be no other way to live our lives.  Related to this, I have blogged a number of times about the importance of being supportive and encouraging towards others but to not tell others what to do or take over for them in any way, no mattter how good our intentions are. I believe that we must choose how we will live our lives and that this is easier if we are connected to others who are supportive and encouraging but respect our independence.  

What do you think?