Intention and Interpretation
By Deyna Devi on June 24, 2020
Intention and Interpretation
It’s my belief that 99.9% of people never intentionally hurt any other person.\
But we can be unintentionally thoughtless because we act and react from our own psyche and meaning that is often different from another’s perspective, sensitivities and vulnerabilities.
As a human being we are programmed, through the ego, to self-protect and self-propel. This is natural and pretty much without exception, universal. Often we are happy to do things for others; but take a moment to look behind altruism and it usually has self-interest as root motivation, mainly feeling good that we have done or said something virtuous, kind or complimentary. It hopefully nurtures and nourishes relationships so it’s a win-win situation.
But what if our intention in giving does not match the interpretation of the receiver? And the more different to us someone is (at an egoic level in terms of current circumstances, age, background, experiences), the greater the likelihood of this.
In any interaction there is a giver (doer or speaker), a receiver (or listener) and content or action (words, gestures, deeds, facial or physiological expression).\
Content is delivered according to a person’s subjective intent and present state of being: physical, pranic, emotional and mental.\
Content is received by according to the others present subjective state: physical, pranic, mental and emotional + relationship with the giver.
Problems occur when the content is not received according to the intent, and this can be at a personal, social, cultural or global level: it’s all about intention and interpretation.
In my life I’ve noticed a spectrum of offense and defence materialise as we dance with intentionality and interpretation; particularly if the giving, content and receiving is through a screen medium, rather than face-to-face. Written as opposed to spoken content lacks clarifying tone, facial expression and gesture which can alter the meaning (see blog on The Spectrum of Meaning and Understanding).
Ask yourself this?
As a giver:
Do I have an inner (sub-conscious) expectation or assumption of how my words or actions ‘should’ be received (should being a key word of expectation and assumption)?
Do I get offended if the receiver does not respond as I think they ‘should’, perhaps by being grateful or returning the compliment or ‘good’ deed (good being a subjective word)?
If I’m not recognised or appreciated in the way I wish (subconsciously), do I then become embroiled in acting and reacting, offence and defence, risking the relationship and understanding dissolving or devolving (see blog on acting, reacting and interacting).
Ask yourself as a receiver:
Am I able to accept help, or compliments graciously and gratefully?
Can I recognise intent, even if words or actions don’t feel beneficial or healthy in my interpretation?
Do I feel safe in human relationships to question content, if it feels unhealthy or detrimental to my well-being?
And if I can’t, do I get offended and become embroiled in acting and reacting, offence and defence, risking the relationship and understanding dissolving or devolving? Or supress and repress my physical, mental or emotional state in order to please the giver, so increasing the unhealthy impact of the interpretation for myself?
Such can be the delicate balance of human relationship without open, honest and aware communication. What if we try to lose any sense of ‘should’ and be responsible for our own assumptions, expectations, intentions and interpretations as giver or receiver?
What if when our giving is unintentionally harmful to the receiver, we are interested and apologetic? The lost art of a heartful ‘SORRY’ which recognises another ego, as well as our own! What if we invite interaction to clarify the giving, content and receiving so that we move towards understanding, evolving and strengthening relationship?
What if when receiving, we appreciate the intention and take time to be aware of our egoic reaction so we address any subjective problem with the content mindfully, recognising another’s ego as well as our own. What if we invite interaction to clarify the giving, content and receiving so that we move towards understanding, evolving and strengthening relationship?
Let’s keep celebrating meaning and understanding; and the joy of honest action, reaction and interaction 😊