I had to get a flu shot today, because my employer has made it mandatory. Had to. I hate doing pretty much anything that is preceded by the words “have to.” It evokes a response in me, an immediate “you’re not the boss of me” mentality. I hate being told what to do, even if it is in my own best interest. Even if thousands of well-educated others are doing it. Even if…anything, really.
And why is this? I think it’s fairly normal. No one likes to be told what to do. As adults, we like to think for ourselves. We like to think that we have free will and that no one is in charge of us but us. But the truth is, we all have to answer to someone. In fact, most of us have to answer to a whole lot of someones. There is no life that I know of without fences or boundaries or rules. The idea of only answering to oneself is a fantasy, or maybe even a delusion.
I do my best to keep my oppositional defiant tendencies in check. I try to only exercise them when there are no real consequences. I am deferential to my boss, I don’t get mouthy with cops (anymore), and I follow the bulk of the societal rules. It’s boring, but it’s also survival.
To not be a rule follower is honestly more trouble than it is worth most of the time. I’m not suggesting I won’t pick my battles – trust me, I do. But I learned a nugget of wisdom from someone once: “You have to live another day to continue the good fight.” So with that in mind, I assess carefully before I draw my lines in the sand. And if need be, I don’t just eat a slice of humble pie…I bake the dang pie myself and keep eating it until the temptation to let my ego rule passes. Is humble pie tasty? Not particularly. Does it contain what I need? Most of the time, yes.
All of that being said, you’re still not the boss of me.