One of the most fundamental paths to calm is the power to hold on, even in very challenging situations, to a distinction between what someone does – and what they meant to do.
We care about intentions for a very good reason: because if it was deliberate, then the perpetrator will be an ongoing and renewable source of danger from whom the community must be protected
But if it was accidental, then the perpetrator will be inclined to deep apology and restitution, which renders punishment and rage far less necessary
Motives are, therefore, crucial. But unfortunately, we’re seldom very good at perceiving what motives happen to be involved in the incidents that hurt us. We are easily and wildly mistaken. We see intention where there was none and escalate and confront when no strenuous or agitated responses are warranted.