We tend to judge people based on the results of their actions. If the effects were harmful to us or others, then clearly the intentions must’ve been harmful, thoughtless, or at least highly inconsiderate.
But when it comes to us, well, that’s a different story altogether. Plans go to pieces, life sometimes gets in the way of doing the right thing, but we care about others even if it doesn’t always come across. Surely people know that.
Do you see the irony?
This dynamic of “what I would like others to think of me versus what I think of others” is deeply ingrained in western society. Most of us are utterly oblivious to it. It takes real empathy to notice the other side of every story.
You can use this dynamic at work in your stories to make them that much more believable.