Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Power of Words

In a recent staff conversation the word "mandatory" came up. I hate what it means. I naturally rebel against it. Bitterness starts to creep in. I don't like whatever its referring to before I even know what its referring to. "Mandatory" is an evil, evil word in my mind.

Yet, its helpful. It brings clarity. When someone who has authority over me says something is "mandatory," the message is clear. I know its something that has to be done whether I like it or not. Now, obviously, I still have choice as to whether or not I do it, however, the consequences of failing to do something designated mandatory is always more severe than the results of fulfilling the required action.

So I have a naturally critical response to a helpful word. When someone in authority over me tells me my attendance at an event is "mandatory" my internal response is in conflict with good communication. Its easy to let the rebellious part of me make it personal with the person who has the power to make something mandatory, however, the real issue is not with the other person, the real issue is with me. I'm the one rebelling against it and thinking negative thoughts because of the designation of "mandatory."

Its my issue. I have to deal with it. I just have to think more about this. Stay tuned...

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