Post image for Willful versus Willing

Willful versus Willing

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Mental Clarity & Calmness

Are you in the flow or intensely focused on your personal or professional agenda? Are you open to feedback from others and the universe? Are you more willful or willing?


According to, willful is “deliberate, voluntary, or intentional; unreasonably stubborn or headstrong; self-willed.”  Willing is “inclined; cheerfully consenting or ready.”

To me, willful is will-full; no room for intuition, to openly receive feedback and ideas, and has a closed energy.  Willing is a state of readiness, openness, and flexibility. I find it interesting that the definition of willful includes the concept of self-willed to which I say “exactly…and how limiting!”  What about the power that can be used outside of your personal will?

Willful versus Willing Examples

Willful thought: “I can handle this on my own”

Willing thought: “I have experience to do this and I am open to guidance and assistance”

Which is more calming?

“Where there’s willingness, there’s space for grace.” Jo-Ann Downey

Intentions and Willingness

As shared in “Intention Series: How to Create Powerful Intentions”, expansive intentions are criticalSince you do not know how good it can be, why limit yourself to what you can receive? During the process of setting an intention set aside any limiting thoughts or beliefs. For example, “I am meeting my financial obligations” (limiting) versus “I am easily and gracefully experiencing financial prosperity.” Go for it- be willing to allow for miracles, course corrective feedback, and positive surprises as you move forward with your personal and professional goals and intentions.

Acceptance and Willingness

Willingness also has an element of acceptance.  As shared in “Acceptance and Patience”, your current life situation may not be your preference, and you may want to change things in your life; however, you must start with accepting what is present. Acceptance is not apathy. It is a choice and the choice is yours to make.

A willful approach is about denying, fixing or changing things; a willing approach accepts what is and moves on from there.

“Willingness opens space for grace.”  Jo-Ann Downey

photo credit: cherylmsf



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