Direct Mail: Honesty and Intention

Dear Roger

This is a letter I wrote, however never actually sent to you at the time I ended our relationship. I suppose I figured a clean break was best for the emotional health of both of us (though mainly me). But today, some five years later, I still regret that I never said the following things to you.

So, here goes.

I’d like to say a couple things about honesty and intention. First, let’s tackle honesty. For most people, it is open, it is transparent, and it is contextual. Lies are usually semantically focused, and while non contextual facts may sometimes appear to be truthful, they are never really honest.

The bottom line? People with nothing to hide, hide nothing. People who chronically deceive, well, their life tends to be a deftly constructed maze. They hide everything and only share what benefits them. The following are some common experiences and circumstance that define dishonest patterns.

  • deflection of responsibility
  • framing blame onto the accuser
  • consistent “co incidences” are no longer co incidences when they become the dominant experience
  • accusations of “you don’t trust me”
  • accountability avoidance
  • argument set up
  • lack of apologies
  • denial or avoidance of others feelings
  • a rapid and expertly honed ability to manipulate truth for gain
  • and the worst of all, irrevocably damaged relationships with people who once cared about you

Do you recognize those patterns? Because I do.

Moving on to intention. Despite the popular belief to the contrary, intention, in the end, really means a load of shit. That is because our actions produce outcome, not our intentions. And outcome, when we discuss events or situations that are harmful or hurtful, is the important point. Since even with an absence of harmful intent, the kid you just hit with your car and launched thirty feet down the road, is still dead. Wish as you might, your lack of intention to harm will not change the outcome.

Where intention can be relevant, is in the ability it has to transparently showcase motivation. Doing something and having no intent to hurt, speaks to a motivation pure of ill will. But that’s it.

An example that will no doubt be familiar to you; it certainly is something that I have heard more than once coming from you.

“After we fight, I tend to bury my head in the sand and I react by sleeping with the entire gay ghetto of Toronto. But I don’t INTEND to hurt you, therefore if you hurt, you are making yourself feel that way. We create our own reality, you know.”

Well, isn’t that tidy?

For you, perhaps.

Looking more closely, it’s also lacking something, Roger. What is missing is simple, but unfortunately it is a life law that applies in everything, all the time. As adults who exist in a world with more than ourselves, we gain knowledge, and as such, we are placed in a position of being newly accountable to where that knowledge applies. By mandate, newly accountable means one has an obligation to act. While there may always be thousands of variations, people generally act in one of two specific ways.

One of those ways would be: Being both self and other centered, one will act in ways that attempt to recognize the feelings, emotions, and contextual circumstances of those in their life. Actions made with a positive intent generally build up, strengthen, respect, operate from a base of reciprocity, and are usually sustainable.

Another, might go something like this: Acting in a self centered way, denying the feelings, emotions, and contextual circumstances of those in ones life, actions are made with positive or negative intent based on the self referenced gain the action produces. In other words, actions may appear generous, but the motive is almost always personal gain. Most actions, though, will generally derail, disrespect, manipulate, be semantically truthful yet dishonest, and operate parasitically; taking, never returning, and relationships with individuals in ones life are usually not sustainable.

A hint:

If you are having trouble deciding which of the above is the “right” example, that’s only a small part of the reason why I am leaving you.

Best of luck.

Allan