E.J. Englin shares this -- In society we don the faces we think are most appropriate for the life we want lead. We tread lightly where people's sensibilities are concerned. We speak the language others speak. We immolate, we imitate, we contrive…subterfuge is our drink of choice and we imbibe liberally. Everyday situations arise where we want to make our thoughts, feelings, and voices be heard…situations with our family, friends, co-workers, bosses. We want to be up front, we want to be honest, but we realize that honesty isn't always the best policy. How do you tell the people around you that you want them to do something that may be against their better judgment, or against their nature? How do you promote your ideas, without stepping on the toes of someone important to you? It may sound cynical, but beneath the exterior of the person you call friend lies their own goals, their own dreams, their own wishes; wishes that may be at odds with your own.
Ulterior motive as defined by the MSN Encarta dictionary means: a second and underlying motive…often a selfish or dishonorable one. But, it's not always selfish. Your underlying motive may be to get your daughter to stop dating a man who is leading her down the wrong path. Or it may be to help your spouse make a good decision about a car you're not even sure will make it down the block. It could on the surface seem that you are doing things for your own selfish reasons. And, too often, we think we have a better answer than the person we love. It can be very dishonorable, however, when we don't speak our minds and tell the truth, but it can also be disastrous when we do.
Ulterior motives often hide behind the tragic faces we show to the world. They lurk beneath our benign masks…coloring our actions…informing our decisions. Your mom has one when she huffs and puffs about not being able to go to her church function, when you barely have enough money to buy food. After all, if you give her money, it was your idea. Your husband has one when he drops hints that the boys are having a football party the same day as your anniversary. His forlorn face makes you give in when what you really want to do is wring his neck. Your co-worker has one when they complain about staying up all night with the baby, so you offer to take care of their work, even though you're overloaded with your own.
We often believe that saying what we really want appears selfish or immoral, but to this writer it shows a marked disrespect for the person you're dealing with. Asking outright may not get you what you want, but at least you're honest. Telling the truth about what you want may not be rewarding, but it can stop a lot of heartache. Of course, that being said, civilization just could not stand if everyone was honest about their real motives. Having an ulterior motive could be a good thing or a bad thing. It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and if what you want will benefit you and hurt someone else.