It was a lovely day on the farm with a clear blue sky. It was just right for a quad bike ride with my partner driving and Aunty cuddling him at the back. We ignored the safety signs advising riders not to carry passengers because the day was ours. While zipping across the paddocks, we saw some rusting and twisted wire lying on the ground. We both love animals and the last thing we wanted was for the cows to eat the wire or be injured by stepping on it. We picked the wire up and I held onto the roll so we could move it safely out of the way.
As the bike moved off, and I am so glad my partner didn’t madly hit the throttle, one end of the wire coiled around the bike’s back wheel. The other end tightened around my hand and opened up two fingers on my right hand as if they were peeled bananas. My deafening scream saw the bike come to a quick stop. I am quite useless with pain so I knew I would faint soon. “Stay with me”, pleaded my partner as we drove the twenty minutes into the hospital. I spent the next two hours getting my fingers sewn up.
Good news – those fingers healed up okay and, while the nerves in the fourth finger are somewhat damaged, they look normal, whatever normal looks like. But, as a result of the incident, I developed an uncontrollable ‘finger wiggling’ habit. I would wiggle my fingers from the minute I woke up until bedtime. Wiggling became part of my regular exercise regime. I would wiggle at work, at play and while eating. Sometimes, I consciously held my fingers together so wiggling was impossible. Gloves would result in a wiggling break but, as soon as the gloves were off, the fingers would move again of their own accord. I couldn’t stop this habit and it was frustrating, exhausting and embarrassing for me.
My wiggling woes continued until someone asked, “Why are you doing this? What is the positive intent behind the action?” Positive intent? How could there be anything positive behind such a weird habit? Surely there was no good in this? As I thought about it more, I realised that, in some strange wiggly way, I was checking whether my fingers were getting better or had got worse. It was crazy thinking. My fingers are as they are. They are not going to get better because the nerves are shot. They will not get worse. Once I awoke to the positive intent and realised how pointless the action was, there was no longer a need to wiggle. So I stopped. Just like that. Our minds are that powerful if we let them be.
If we accept there is positive intent behind all actions, we begin to understand why people do what they do and appreciate where each other is coming from. Their positive intent will not always help you and you certainly will not always agree with, or condone their actions. Just know the actions taken will be assisting the other person in some way. If someone is nasty to you, perhaps they are feeling insecure, scared or small around you. If they upset you, they will feel bigger and better as their ego is nurtured. They have got nothing anything against you personally, it is just that acting like a jerk helps them feel better about themselves.
Children criticise their parents for things they did or failed to do. We need to accept our parents did the best they could with the resources and information they had available at the time. Maybe they changed jobs, moved towns or relocated countries. The positive intent was to give those kids a better life. Perhaps it turned out for the best and perhaps it did not. But the intent was never to hurt or punish their children. At that moment and in that situation, it was the best action they knew to take.
Friends and family members will tell you when you are looking tired but these words are not intended to insult or upset you. They are speaking out of love and care and want to express concern and empathy. Accept this and you won’t feel the need to be offended so your life becomes a little easier. Investigate what the positive intent behind the action might be.
Accept all actions have positive intent.