There is a very clear line between attempting to convince someone of something and coercion. They may seem similar, but your body know immediately when the line has been crossed. Trying to convince somebody comes from desire. You really want something and that emotion fills you and you want this person to agree and want it to. The two most common examples of this are children in grocery stores and politicians. Children really want what they want when they want it and they will throw their entire being into convincing the person who can get it for them that they should have it. Adept parenting can deflect this with the “Squirrel!!!” affect approximately 70% of the time. But not always. Because when their soul cries out for Captain Crunch, there’s just no way around the wailing.
Politicians have the ability to use the same techniques. And you have the ability to see when they fail and when they succeed. If their desire is for power and position and money, this shows through in everything they say and you will feel it. If they actually have passion about the issues on their platform, you will know that too. Sometimes that’s even more dangerous. Because whether or not they are able to convince you, that skill has nothing to do with whether they will take the actions your want, follow through on promises, or even care tomorrow about what they care for today. Ah politics. The only thing you can truly know and trust about politicians is you can’t trust them. Which is why the contradiction that proves the rule is so stunning to us when it appears that we don’t usually recognize it until it is gone. And why we react with almost fanaticism. Someone in power that is passionate about what they want, is honest about it, and follows through to make it happen? And isn’t a dictator or a tyrant? Be still my heart.
So having these shining examples in front of us it should be easy for us to detect the dark side, coercion. I mean, our body knows and throws the red flag when it’s happening. We get uneasy feelings, feel a pit in our stomach, feel ‘something isn’t right’, but more often than not we shrug this off as our imagination instead of our early warning system. Because someone who would coerce us into something we don’t want to do is not the best person to be around. They have violated our boundaries, shown how little they respect us, and that they are willing to do harm to get what they want. All of that in one little package. And we know that’s not a direction we want to go into. However we use logic to talk ourselves out of our unease because we don’t want it to be true. This person is our boss/sweetheart/family member/good friend and we have a lot invested in having a good relationship with them. A little boundary violation won’t hurt. And it’s just this once, right?
Well, if logic has caused you to second guess situations or you have poo-poohed your way into things you really didn’t want to do with someone who just knew you needed to do them, remember this easy tool: ‘No’ is a complete sentence. If you say ‘no’ and they don’t hear that, then you need to reevaluate the situation quickly. Someone trying to convince you of something might ignore ‘No’ once just to test your conviction, but they will drop it after twice. Someone trying to coerce you won’t hear it at all and will plow on as if it didn’t occur and just keep going until you cave. That’s not the actions of someone who cares about you or has your best interest in mind. If you say, ‘no, I’d rather do this on my own’ or ‘no, no tonight’ or ‘no, it’s not for me’ and they can’t hear that and force the issue, walk away. You are worth better.