That which incites to action; anything prompting or exciting to choice, or moving the will; cause; reason; inducement; object.
For years I have been fascinated with "intention" and "motivation." That which causes us to do something; the initial impetus that spurs us to action. When it all comes down to it, everything we do has a motivation behind it. Even if I don't think I can explain why I do something (or choose not to do something) often when I think about it, there is some explanation behind it. I had something in mind which guided me to take the first step, make the first inquiry, even if I just thought it would make me a happier person.
But what has really made me think about this has come from my interactions with others. Why is someone kind to me? Why does someone choose to contact me? Why do they make the effort to make friends with me, to call me, to email me and discuss issues that interest me? Do they do so because they expect something in return? Do they stay in contact with me because they feel wonderful when they are in contact with me, because they appreciate who I am, because they enjoy spending time with me, because our discussions inspire them?
And all of the same questions vice versa from my side!
There have been times when I misunderstood pure motivations from someone and consequently failed to follow through with a potential friendship. There have been times when someone made friends with me because they wanted me to do something for them or they were trying to get something via contact with me. And even times when a supposed friendship was a one way street - I was supposed to offer support and listen and be friendly but when I wanted support and someone to listen to me, I was brushed aside. Unfortunately, I usually don't realize these situations until after the fact and I end up feeling very used and hurt and withdraw again into my private shell where no one can hurt me. As with traumatic episodes in general, these are hard to forget and difficult to recover from.
It is hard to know the true motivations of others so I end up just doing my best by trying to pick up on clues that are available. The tone of voice, the purpose for the conversation, the choice of words and the intonation. These all start to form a picture of the person with whom I am having contact (and I assume they do the same with me). Sometimes we walk around one another, taking time to understand the other. Other times we just jump in, take the plunge, open our hearts and minds and souls with the pure hope that the other will protect us as we travel along in our budding friendship.
I will continue to contemplate motivation and its role in my life. And I will continue to allow others into my world, taking the chance that they have ulteror motives but assuming that they have only pure intentions (unless it is proven otherwise). And I will continue to keep my heart open and my spirit full and to offer my friendship fully. I know I run a bit of a risk here but my hope is that others will take as much responsibility for their motives as I am of mine.
Ironically, I have found the most understanding connections and support from people I have never met in person! I sometimes wonder if this is a sign that something is wrong with me - too shy, insecure or self conscious? And I have been known to fall into a sort of love with someone's words, their ability to describe things so exactly and perfectly. Words can be a kind of drug: sweet, heavy, all-consuming and obsessive - always wanting more. Concepts, ideas and perceptions revolve my world: observations, contemplations, discussions. And friendships based on this can be formed via email or telephone or IM in our technologically swollen world.
Thus, until I have proof that I have some kind of personality disorder, I prefer to believe that I have found friendships across continents via cyberspace because finding others who can share in and appreciate my unique idiosyncrasies is hard. Others who wish to communicate with me on all levels sometimes just can't be found in my neighborhood or even in the city where I live. Sometimes it takes a place as big as our world to find others who can understand us well enough to keep us just a little bit more sane.