While the original Shakespearean quote did not have the exact meaning that we ascribe to it today, there is much wisdom to be found in the more modern context. Many of us will eventually find ourselves in a situation where we must bend to the will of another. For some it will be our parents, for others a superior in the workplace or even someone of higher rank in the military. For yet others it may even be our chosen higher power or deity. Either way, we all find ourselves subordinate.
But what do we do in a situation where those in higher authority have ordered us to go against something we personally believe to be right or true?
Firstly, we must apply common sense. Is there a valid reason for this directive? In most cases, following the demand that we hurt or kill someone is an instant no, however this may not be true for military or law enforcement officers. If a friend suggested that we should jump off a cliff or bridge, again in most cases that would elicit a negative response, but what if it were something that was a little more difficult to identify as a bad idea?
Would you change your religious views because a spouse or family member asked you to? What if someone told you that you were only supposed to read certain materials that they had decided were ‘good’ for you? How many of us would put our foot down and say “No! You can believe what you want, but I will believe what resonates with me!”
This is an absolutely valid viewpoint, however, keep in mind that in many cases you will have to continue to deal with the person in higher power to you. It is not always possible or feasible that you will be able to just walk away from the difference of opinion, though if you are able to take that option, and you feel that is your best choice, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t. Just remember to make a conscious and informed decision.
In the event that you are in a situation which you cannot or choose not to leave, ask the other person to explain their viewpoint. Calm communication is the key. Do not allow the situation to escalate into an argument, but simply state your own position and allow the other person the same courtesy. Share also your reasoning and permit them to do the same.
Conversation is the axis on which the social world turns, and it is a perfectly acceptable compromise to agree to disagree.
Yes, even with a person who is in power over you.
You can be true to your own thoughts, desires, emotions, and beliefs without engaging in constant disagreements. Not everyone needs to jump onto the same bandwagon as you, nor are you required to ride on theirs.
You are beautiful; you are intelligent. You can do this!