Intent. It’s something you can never directly see, and yet it impacts all actions. It’s something I’ve been thinking on a lot these past few months.
Because the amazing human being in my life does some of the same things that He did – not many, but enough for me to have occasional flashbacks. The difference between the two is as clear as night and day, but certainly not something I would ever have seen at the time. It is a difference in intent.
Where He supported my interests because they reflected well on Him, this amazing human supports my interests because I’m interested in them. Where He looked after my animals because it made Him look good, this amazing human looks after my animals because he loves them. Where He would spend a lot of money on takeaway food because it was Living The Life, this amazing human spends money on takeaway food because it’s easy and tasty and it’s a nice treat (for both of us) after a hard day of work.
Where He would interact with my friends and, when they (very rarely) visited, suggest some things He thought they might like, it was all to reflect well on Him in some way, to make them like Him more. This amazing human suggests things they might like because they might like it and because he cares.
And now, looking back, the difference of intent is so clear. It has just taken seeing the behaviours expressed from a selfless intent to see the difference in the resulting behaviour expressed from a selfish intent.
And you can tell, you can really tell. The words they use, the way they put them together, their tone of voice, and their body language. The feeling left in your gut afterwards (never ignore your gut, it knows a lot more than your brain does).
I am intensely grateful to the amazing human being I now share my life with. He is helping to heal a lifetime of trauma by simply being his incredible self.