The Mediation Times


Intention and effects – it’s not about blame

by Amanda on April 19, 2011

Sometimes our intentions don’t quite have the effects that we expected. Nevertheless, our intentions do have an influence on the effects as in the visual illustrations below.

It is a conundrum: we can never have total control of the outcome: we only have possibility for consistent behaviour which builds trust and can be a key component of regaining trust if the effects turn out to be not quite what was intended.

When people are demonising each other in a heated dispute, they nearly always see the worst intentions in the other even if at the time of the event they bore the effects more compassionately.

It is one thing to explain your intentions and have them understood. It is another to accept that the effects were damaging for the other. It is not about blame.

Gunpowder + Intention = magical Photo: Amanda Bucklow

Gunpowder + Intention = destruction Photo: Tom Stoddart

Linda Gryczan
Linda Gryczan

"What is your intention?" is a good question that helps people move towards self awareness, and away from the intensity of whatever emotion is clouding their judgment and effective communication.


Thanks for commenting Linda. it is an excellent question which is generally successful at starting a different thinking process. I wish we could see more easily exactly what happens inside the brain when people hear questions that open up the process of understanding. I suspect it would be a powerful encouragement to use this kind of approach more often than we do.

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