Willingness versus Wilfulness

Willingness versus Wilfulness

At Psychedelic Gypsy Fitness this month, my members and I are exploring concepts of Radical Acceptance. 

Radical means all the way, complete and total. 


Accepting or acknowledging your reality fully, saying yes to what is, what you cannot change....

Hard as hell. 

Radical Acceptance is about accepting life on life's terms (life has been operating for many millennia. It knows more than your short decades of existence and always will) and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. 

This is most difficult when life is painful. We don't like experiencing pain, disappointment, sadness, heartache or loss. 

When we attempt to avoid or resist these inevitable emotions, we add immense suffering to our painful experiences. This avoidance builds up the situation and paradoxically diminishes our ability to truly experience full, unabashed joy as well!!!!

How peculiar that we must feel the depths of misery to understand true happiness. As Denzel Washington said in The Equalizer 2, "There are two types of pain in this world: pain that hurts and pain that alters." 

the wisdom of the Equalizer

When we accept whatever comes at us in life only then can we make change where change in needed. We level up so to speak.

Why we should accept reality?  (taken from Dialectal Behaviour Therapy solutions)

  • rejecting your reality doesn't change it
  • changing reality requires acceptance first
  • Refusing to accept can keep us feeling stuck 
  • Pain can't be avoided--> it's nature's way of signalling that it's time for growth

Factors that interfere 

  • we don't know how to accept
  • we believe that if we make light of painful events or approve by accepting nothing will be done to change/prevent future events
  • Our emotions get in the way. Unbearable sadness; anger at the person or group that caused the painful event; rage at the injustice of the world; overwhelming shame about who you are; guilt about your own behaviour

Ya- so those factors really interfere! However, I am working on unpacking those factors. I have much to learn, but the first step is understanding the difference between Willfulness and Willingness. 

Willingness: readiness to enter and fully participate in life and living. 

Qualities of willingness:

  • doing just what is needed in each situation wholeheartedly without dragging your feet
  • listening to your Wise mind (observing emotions that bubble up) and then acting from the wise mind (not acting on every emotion)
  • acting with awareness that you are connected to everything in the universe (we are apart of something so much bigger than just our reactive emotions)

Willfulness: unreasonably headstrong 

Qualities of Willfulness:

  • refusing to tolerate the moment
  • refusing to make changes that are needed (I am the way I am- she is wrong, I am right! Life sucks, I am trapped...)
  • giving up (I am out of here- fuck this! mentality)
  • not doing what works
  • trying to fix every situation
  • insisting on being in control
  • attachment to ME, ME, ME and what I want right now. 



Reading the list of Willfulness makes me uncomfortable because I can identify with so much of that behaviour. The next step on our spiritual adventure is to learn how to:

1. Observe the willfulness. Label it. Experience it.

2. Radically accept that at this moment you feel (and may be acting) willful. Don't deny your willfulness with willfulness you stubborn ol' scamp!

3. Turn your mind towards acceptance and willingness. 

4. Try half-smiling or a willing posture (I'll get into these techniques next time)

5. When willfulness is immovable ask, "What's the threat?"

Stubborn Sally at the mercy of every emotion


We don't want to be ruled by every emotion that bubbles up. It's exhausting. Much of this practice of Radical Acceptance is akin to Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now. Being in this current moment only. When we drop all the stories our rational mind attaches to our constant flow of emotions, we can then experience inner peace.

When we acknowledge the greater purpose of our spiritual adventures as co-creators (not the main bus drivers) then we can fully embrace whatever life throws at us- as a chance to truly grow into and align with our higher selves. 

Are you aware of your own willfulness and willingness?

How does it play out in daily life? 

A quote from Dr. Lickerman,

"Approaching painful internal experiences with an attitude of acceptance, in contrast — accepting that sometimes we’re weak — paradoxically may be the key to our becoming strong.”

Much love my Psychedelic Gypsies.

Keep on keepin' on,

The Psychedelic Gypsy Queen 


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