The following is an example of what it is like to be in my writing group, or to be my daughter when I am critiquing written work. It is also what it is like to be my friend. I can be quite pedantic…
The following definitions are brought to you by dictionary.com
Will- the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action
want-have a desire to possess or do
motivation- the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
My friend SF and I recently got into an
argument discussion about the above mentioned words. The specific topic was how you treat your partner:
- Are you WILLING to do something for your partner
- Do you WANT to do something for your partner
- Are you MOTIVATED to do something for your partner.
SF thinks that these are all saying the same thing. I said the only one that matters is WANT. Here’s my rationale:
To be willing to do something, or have the will means that you might act in a specific manner because you know that it is something your partner wants you to do. You would not do this thing for any other reason than your partner desires it, and you might not be 100% on board with this idea.
To be motivated, or have motivation means it’s a quid quo pro sort of deal. You are motivated to act in a certain way because you know that you will get something in return.
To want means you have absolutely no qualms about doing this for your partner, it is something you are 100% on board for, and you don’t expect anything in return.
Does anyone understand what I’m saying besides me?
I want you to think about relationships that you are in- they don’t have to be romantic. Family or friendship works as well. When you do something for someone else- what propels you to act in the way that you do?
Let’s give some examples. I love all genres of film except gory horror,
- My husband is willing to go to the Quad Cinema with me and see an art house film because there is a good Italian restaurant across the street
- My Husband is motivated to go to the Upper West Side really good IMAX movie theater (hard to get to by mass transit from my apartment) because he knows there’s a good French dip place
- My Husband wants to see the new Avengers movie no matter where it’s playing because food is a non issue.
My Husband is all about the food- he begins his day by asking “What’s for breakfast” followed by “what’s for lunch” ending with “what’s for dinner”. He is willing to do something or motivated to do something if there is a carrot (literally and figuratively) dangled in front of his nose. Willing and motivated are conditional: you will not do them unless there is strong reason for you to do so.
Wanting is unconditional. Wanting requires nothing in return. Wanting to do something comes from deep inside of you. You want to do something because you love someone and the only thing you want is for them to be happy. And sure- you loving them is sort of a reward, but you shouldn’t need a reward to love or be loved. Love is unconditional.
See- wanting and love are both unconditional.
So what’s the point? Words matter. What you say, how you say it – it all matters. Think about the words you use when talking about the people in your life. Are they unconditional words? If they’re not unconditional, ask yourself why you are putting conditions on the people that you care about.
So- what do you think? Are all these words the same, or are their subtle differences ad nuances? Do you think the words that you choose matter?