Can I overcome violence with good intentions?

Contribution made by Isabel Hernandez Negrin. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

According to Walter Scott, hell is full of good intentions.

Plans are only good intentions if they are not accompanied by hard work immediately, said Peter Drucker.

We can also remember all the great agreements of intentions between countries to stop climate change or to shelter those who flee from present wars. Nothing is done. It seems just something to look good.

Even we, at the beginning of a new year, are filled with plans of good intentions that we, then, hardly fulfill. Do you remember any?

Maybe this gives us a frame to the question. Good intentions are thoughts, which, if they don’t get down into the realm of intelligent action, only serve to create frustration and perception of falsehood in ourselves.

In the field of violence, sometimes we understand as such all external acts of aggression in any field.

However, before it is expressed in the form of aggression, we can observe that something happens within us. We feel anger for something that has bothered us (offended, humiliated, or vexed our plans …). And, why do we feel anger? If someone really wanted to offend me or humiliate me, is that justification for me to get angry and react with more violence? Why do I do it? Why do I chain myself to reactions of violence? Maybe it’s because I live just like that other person and I just react in an automatic and not smart fashion. Will I solve this with good intentions?

Not really. I need to undertake some action that allows me to see my reactions when they appear so that I can understand, at that very moment, the origin of my reaction. Mine, not someone else’s. Just as a bullfighter looks at the bull to perceive directly what state it is in, so we can calmly observe the bull of our attitudes and automatic reactions and choose an attitude and a non-automatic response, not carried by the fear of an alleged threat.

Remember what was said, before external violence, there is always the internal defense reaction and that’s the place for your intelligent, coherent action that can shape your good intentions, because they alone are not enough.

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