This morning as I was watching the end of series 5 of Buffy (episode - the Gift) something occurred to me. It wasn't so much as was it a gift that Buffy receives or a gift that she gives to the world, but more of a does it matter?
In my eyes, Buffy jumping off the scaffolding to save the world is a purely selfish act. She doesn't do it to save the world, but more that she doesn't want Dawn to die, as she would have to live with this. Granted, she probably doesn't want the world to end either but more because she would have to deal with it rather than what it is doing to everyone else. Summed up - Buffy dies as it's the easier, less painful option for herself. But in the end, it's the same result - the world is saved and Buffy is a hero (or heroine technically). So does it matter if she only did it through selfish reasons - does that change the act? Is intent the most important thing or is the end result the most important?
Personally, I believe that the result is more important than the intent. This of course only applies when everyone can live with the result and the result is in the best interest generally speaking. Though, being a relatively selfish person myself, I have to admit that this goes completely to pot when the result isn't as predicted - then, suddenly, intent becomes everything. (Granted, this is just to save my own back - like I said - selfish.)
I also believe that everyone dies ,so in the grand scheme of things, nothing we do actually matters. So long as you can live with your choices and stick to them, not regretting, life can become so much more pleasurable. Regret, in my book, takes up too much time and energy, so now I just enjoy life as it comes and leave the past in the past - or use it as ideas for my writing - the present is what matters, nothing else exists.