Misunderstood Intentions

I try to believe the best about people. I think that, for the most part, people have the best intentions, even those individuals (we’ve all got at least one in our life) who rub me the wrong way, get on my nerves, or behave in such a way that causes me angst.

There’s an individual I’ve been dealing with for over a year whose behavior has caused me to have more than one sleepless night. Neither of us understands the other; I still choose to believe this person is coming from a place of wanting to do and be the best.

Would I prefer not to have to deal with the drama? Absolutely. The circumstance is what it is, however, and I’ve talked myself into believing  there are lessons I can learn from this person. There must be. We can all learn something from another person, can’t we?

Last Sunday the rear right tail light on my vehicle burned out. Gerry took my vehicle to the dealership this morning to have it fixed (after finding out that it’s impossible to change the light bulb without the use of special tools) but I’ve been driving around all week without a right rear signal.

I’m a faithful user of my turn signals and this caused me grief this week. Sometimes, I changed the route I was traveling in order to minimize right hand turns. Those times when a right hand turn was unavoidable I flipped the turn signal on out of habit, knowing that the cars behind me saw nothing and possibly cursed at me, as I turned to the right. I had visions of the car behind following me to my destination, the driver jumping out of his car, and tearing a strip off of me for my inconsiderate behavior.

One dark, wet morning as I flipped on the signal and turned off of the freeway toward my office, cringing to think of what the person in the car behind me was saying about me, I realized something.

Regardless of what another driver thought of my behavior on the freeway I still had the best of intentions; my driving faux-paux was temporarily beyond the realm my control.

At that moment I couldn’t help but consider the individual who has been causing angst for me in recent weeks. Earlier in the week I had had a conversation with someone we had reflected on reasons why the dynamics were the way they were with this person. That conversation, coupled with the forehead-slap moment in my car about good intentions, helped me see things in another light.

I may have no control over the behavior of another person but I can still choose how I react in any given moment. I’m reminded once again that the reality of a situation is not always be what we see, and that believing in another person’s pure motives, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is still the way I choose to live my life.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
1 comment
  1. Hi Linda, Bravo! It’s really about changing how WE think and react to situations, isn’t it? We can’t do anything about the other person’s behavior. Good job!

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