Everything has a positive intention.
How do I know that? Actually I don't. I do know, however, that no one knows their true motivation. The reasons we give for what we do are usually made up afterwards. They are usually uttered because they are socially acceptable. Even the worst criminal believes that what they are doing is right, or good in some way. Otherwise they wouldn't do it. Was it Baby Face Malone who, as he lay dying with multiple bullet wounds after committing many crimes, muttered, 'I only wanted to help people.'
As a guide it helps to think that everybody thinks they are doing right. If we think others do bad things because they have evil intentions then we give up trying to influence them, and we may become afraid of them. So assume that everyone has a good intention - however bad they behave to you or to others!
If you want to influence, then assume a good intention. They probably have a good intention, or at least you can persuade them they have!
How can we use this information?
We use this by reframing or reinterpreting the meaning of something. For example:
Do you get the idea? There is a silver lining, we are told, in every cloud. When you pick out the silver lining then the other person is less likely to disagree with you. There are many types of reframing, and reframing intentions as positive is one type.
Do you think these are bad examples, or not very good ones?
Let's try a conversation:
We do not know why we do things, so if someone claims that we are doing something for some reason and this is a good reason we are inclined to believe it. If we are angry or negative with another person, and that person responds with positive reframing, then we are likely to get confused. Here we are trying to be obnoxious and the other person is saying lots of nice things we like to hear!
Remember, here we are learning about reframing positive intentions. In real conversations we would use all the skills we have, not just reframing. For example, we would use other parts of the Being Specific Model.
I once heard a talk where the speaker said the difference between how men and women behave can be illustrated by how they deal with an angry dog. A man would, the speaker claimed, say, 'Good dog! Good dog!' while he looked around for a big stick. A woman, on the other hand would say, 'Good dog! Good Dog!', until it actually believed it was a good dog! I don't believe that this represents a sex difference. It's just good psychology. When you reframe you are telling them what a good doggy they are until they believe it! And it works. It works because at heart, that's what we all are. No matter how foolish our behaviour, our intentions are always good.
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Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
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