"It comes from a good place"
Ever heard that expression? It's usually used in self-defence, when you've done something a little bit annoying or bossy to someone else.
The other day, my dear husband and I were having an argument. He thought I should have done something differently - his way. I defended myself and said my way was okay. He persisted in pointing out things I could have done better or more efficiently. I said I had had enough and that he should put up with it.
"I'm sorry to be bossy," he said. "But it comes from a good place."
A little bell in my mind went off. It often does when people bring out commonly used phrases.
"Hmmm." I said. "Do you really think so? Doesn't what you're saying just come from the desire to be right and to be in control?"
"No," he said. "It's because I love you that I want you to do things better."
"I disagree," I argued back. "I think real love would be respecting the way I do things and be ok with that, even though you would do them differently."
My dear husband, who is an excellent listener, and very willing to heed correction when it is true, agreed, after a little bit of rueful thought, that no, his behavoiur had NOT come from a good place.
We spent the next half hour discussing the concept of 'it comes from a good place'. We use this phrase so often to excuse our bad behaviour around the people we say we love. We use it to justify our anxiety, our bossiness, our need to control or our just plain bad manners.
But when you think about it, love is the action. Love is the behaviour. It's not good enough to say, "I love you" to our friend, our spouse or our child and then continue to be irritable, impatient, unkind, controlling, co-dependent, untruthful or abandoning.
If we say we love someone but our actions tell a different story, where is the love?
Bad behaviour that 'comes from a good place' is still bad behaviour. And it actually comes from the bad place of 'I don't want to be inconvenienced', 'I dont have time for you', 'Get out of my face' or whatever it is that's at the root of the behaviour.
Love is the action. Love is the behaviour. The good actions and the good, kind, patient behaviours - they are the ones that comes from the good place.