We Are the Problem With Good Intentions

Around 8:00 each morning, I drive into work from the gym on the same road. I turn around a corner, often going too fast, jamming out to Air One radio, or the latest Katy Perry-esque hits, depending on my mood. On a rare occasion, I’m able to see a nice mountain view, but hey, I’m in Seattle and it rains and fogs like no other.

Then I make my way to a stoplight, which is never green. Never. While I wait, I look out my window to the sidewalk, where every day, without fail, there is a man with a pro-life sign. It’s certainly not the first pro-life protester I’ve ever seen, and it won’t be the last, but it is the most memorable of them. Rather than a catchy phrase or an overwhelming statistic, it was chosen to have a gruesome image of an unborn child covered in blood.

Now, if you know me at all, you’d know I’m all about speaking my mind, and I’d be a hypocrite to do so and not allow others to do the same. However, I ask myself why this individual, or the organization he belongs to, would choose this image to urge others to support the cause. Everyone has their own belief system, and I’m not here to argue whether pro-life is right or wrong. All I’m curious about is what the person behind this is expecting to reap from this particular sign.

No matter how good somebody’s intentions are, people can and probably will take it the wrong way. Let’s take for example, the act of a man holding the door open for his date. The man thinks, “I’m a gentleman, it’s the least I can do” (or whatever males think…), but his date, an independent woman who seeks to do things herself, is offended.

So likely, this man believed in this cause, and wants to take a stand, using this statement piece as a means to do so. For me, as the viewer of it, I think, “this photo does not need to be in public like that”, and turn to dismiss myself from whatever cause it is promoting. Am I sheltering myself, or being too stuck in my own comfort zone? Maybe, but it’s a reaction I had instinctively, and one I assume I’ll make again.

I guess, after writing this, I don’t really have a specific direction. It’s more a question as to what our words or actions mean to someone else. People always say that we shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks, but maybe we should think about it a little bit more. How did the way I responded to that person make them feel? Could I have rephrased my email to sound less passive-aggressive, while still getting the point across? Maybe it’s not a matter of caring what people think of our ideas, but considering how they sound to the recipient.

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