Willfulness and Willingness

I am stubborn. Yup, I totally admit it. If you tell me that the stove is hot, I’m going to walk up to it and touch it anyways. Matter of fact, I might have to touch it a few times just to make sure that it really was hot the times prior. Some say it comes from being red-headed, and some say it comes from being the middle child. All I know is that if you told me I was not able to do something, it just made me that more determinded to do it. That had its times where it was a positive thing, and an even larger time when it really got me into a lot of trouble.


Dictionary.com defines willfulness as:

intransigent; contrary, refractory, pigheaded, inflexible, obdurate, adamant. Willful, headstrong, perverse, wayward refer to one who stubbornly insists upon doing as he or she pleases. Willful suggests a stubborn persistence in doing what one wishes, especially in opposition to those whose wishes or commands ought to be respected or obeyed

I am not sure if I love that because it uses the word “pigheaded” or the line “stubbornly insists upon doing as he or she pleases”, yet I think that covers it. When it comes to distress, willfullness is found over on the emotional mind side of things – the “my way or the highway” line of thinking. When we are willful, we find ourselves in these areas:

  • Refuse to make change or compromise that are needed.
  • Give up on a situation, no hope for a resolution.
  • “Doing what works” is not an option.
  • “I am the one who will fix this” attitude.
  • Refusal to tolerate the situation.


Back to dictionary.com and we have willing and will:

  • cheerfully consenting or ready.
  • the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions

Seems like a more postive action here. When we are in a place of willingness, we acknowledge the power to choose. When we stop and allow ourselves to be willing and open to the possibility of change and other choices (dialectics??)  it can make the situation more tolerable. Here are some points about willingness:

  • Wise mind controls the decisions.
  • The situation doesn’t have to fixed, just adapted enough to get through the moment.
  • Giving yourself permission to experience what is going on. Being mindful of your body, surroundings, and interactions.
  • Being non-judgeental with yourself and the world.

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