Main Entry:
co·erce
Inflected Form(s):
co·erced; co·erc·ing
1 : to restrain or dominate by force <religion in the past has tried to coerce the irreligious — W. R. Inge> 2 : to compel to an act or choice <was coerced into agreeing> 3 : to achieve by force or threat <coerce compliance>

          I don’t really believe in coercion.  Unless you are a minor child in an abusive setting, I don’t really believe you can be made to do something you don’t want to do.  There are of course few exceptions: being repeatedly told in the transition stage of labor that you need an epidural, child abuse, being under the influence of mind-altering substances, etc.  Short of those instances and perhaps a few others, I do not believe an adult can be made to do something they are truly opposed to.

          If you’ve lived your entire life without drinking because you have strong feelings against it, would your friends be able to "persuade" you to get fall-down drunk?

         If you are pro-life because of religious views or personal convictions, could your mother "persuade" you to abort your fetus if she pays for you to finish college?

          There are a handful of situations in my life that I have felt pressured and I caved.  But it’s the last part of that sentence that makes the difference.  "I caved."  No one made me do it.  My resolve was not truly hardened.  I was too immature or irresponsible to stand up and say, "No thanks, I’d rather not."  When I look back on those situations, I am the one taking responsibility for the events that resulted from that poor choice.  Ultimately, it was my decision to go along with whatever was being suggested or not.  Ultimately, there is no "coercion."  You either go along and it is your decision, or your refuse and stand on your own.

        For me, this comes into sharper focus when you’re talking about lifetime things.  No one makes you buy a house.  The mortgage brokers and real estate agents may guilt trip you all day long, but ultimately, if you commit to a mortgage you know you can’t afford, it’s your fault.  YOU committed.  Short of someone else signing your name and sealing the deal, you committed.  Even then, you can choose to fight…

          *shrug*  I guess this is just one more thing I am narrow-minded and super-stubborn about.  At this point in my life, after doing some truly moronic things because I gave in to pressure, I don’t think there is anything that can change my mind.  If I can own up to those things, what’s the big deal?  We all have not-so-shining moments, right?   

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