A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog called I is for Impeccabilis. It was all about being impeccable with one’s words, thought, actions, and energy. The more we become impeccable in our lives, the less likely we are to practice mal-intent. Mal-intent is when we are not impeccable with our words. It is when we say or do something with the purpose of harming or hurting one’s self or others. Talking about mal-intent is not quite the same as talking about being impeccable.
Mal-intent seemed like a perfect word for this week, because one of our readers had suggested I write last week’s blog on lying and that is a form of mal-intent. While some times we may be aware of the harm and hurt that can come because of our words and actions, other times we are not. We do not acknowledge what we cannot see.
Sometimes, the mal-intent happens when we are allowing our emotions and thoughts to control us, rather then us controlling them. For example, sometimes when having an argument or a discussion with someone else, we can easily take what they had to say personally. When we do, it is a violation of the second agreement, according to Don Miguel Ruiz, to not take things personally. Taking things personally, can lead to us not being impeccable with our word by saying things in response that can be hurtful, harmful, or that we later regret. Most people I know can thing of at least one time in their lives when they wish they could take back what they said. Unfortunately, it is like trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube, it is not possible. What we can do is forgive ourselves, the others involved, and move forward. If we continue to punish ourselves, then we are continuing the pattern of mal-intent by inflicting more hurt on ourselves.
Mal-intent is practiced and celebrated in many ways in contemporary culture. One of the more popular ways is through gossip. When I was looking for an image to go with this blog and typed in mal-intent, I had a hard time finding something that was not about homeland security. Conversely, when I typed in gossip, there were books, shows, and numerous pictures of people gossiping. I can remember times in my life when I have been both the gossiper and the gossiped. Being the one who is being gossiped about has never been a source of pleasure. Conversely, it has always led to painful situations. When others are gossiping about us, it is very difficult to not take things personally; however, when we do it leads us into the cycle of mal-intent I discussed earlier.
The mal-intentful behaviors of others can become a tool for discernment as to what kinds of information you can trust them with. As someone I know once said, “A dog that’ll bring a bone, will carry a bone.” In other words, if someone will bring you a piece of gossip, then they will take what you say to someone else. Once the words leave your mouth, you lose control over the intent with which they will be shared with others.
Sometimes we have allowed the mal-intent of others to hurt us so deeply, that we intentionally have mal-intent in our thoughts, words, and deeds in our interactions with them. Sometimes we want others to hurt as deeply as we do, so we may say or do something to ensure that they too are hurting. The mal-intent here is multi-directional. We are intentionally mal-intentful towards others, but our need to act on our mal-intent can from our not being impeccable with our own thoughts and words.
In a world where mal-intent can be seen and heard on a daily basis, it can seem challenging to avoid it. It is like trying to stay dry when it is raining and you are without an umbrella. However, we do have control over the extent to which we allow others mal-intent to affect us. We can practice our awareness of our feelings and thoughts, becoming increasingly mindful of when we are taking things personally and not being impeccable with our thoughts and words. We can strive to remember that what others think and say is about them and be intentional about not taking things personally. We can remove ourselves from situations that are filled with mal-intent. We can be mindful of that which we say and share with others. We can be mindful of the energy and vibes that come from those around us. We may not able to completely escape the mal-intent in the world, but we can limit its presence and affect in our lives.