We all have things we're good at. Things we do better than others. Sometimes, lots better. We think of them as gifts, talents, abilities. And I have those, too.
But I think, every now and then, we discover something about ourselves that is so powerful that it scares us. It's just something we do. We didn't understand what it really meant. And then something happens which brings it front and center.
When this happened to me I freaked out. I panicked. I swore to never use my power again.
I have the power of persuasion. And it scares me.
I used to think it was cool to win an argument or get my way. I used to like using words to convince my friends to do what I wanted instead of what they wanted. I used to like using logic to disprove what everyone knew was true -- to the point that everyone was questioning what they believed before.
It's not cool. It's dangerous.
So many people don't want to make decisions. They don't want to think for themselves. They don't want to choose. And I have often had people try to put me in the position of making the decision for them (which I am actually not doing even if I tell them what to do; they are still choosing to do what I said).
Before I understood this I answered requests for advice. What do you think I should do? And I would tell them. I figured everyone else was like me and would seek lots of advice, do their own research, and follow their heart. I was wrong. People would ask. I would answer. They would do.
I remember the first time someone said they did something because, "Robin said I should." WHAT? No, I didn't. I just tried to give you more information. Just my opinion. Not a directive.
I don't want that kind of responsibility.
But, like King Midas and X-Men, sometimes it's tough to not use this power. I don't even know I'm influencing someone and then hear later that I changed their mind.
I can argue either side of most questions. I am quite analytical. I am logical. I am good with words. And I am a student of human behavior, so after a few sentences back and forth I can tell whether this person is arguing with their heart or mind and which area they feel strongest about and which attack will work. It's kind of like a sport I am naturally good at. It just happens.
I have learned to be very cautious when answering a request for advice. If I sense that this person wants me to make their decision for them, I try to give arguments on both sides. I'm good at seeing options. And usually people asking for advice aren't seeing options. I try to give several options without weighing any of them more heavily than the other so they don't think I'm telling them to do this or that.
Why won't I decide for them? Why won't I tell them what to do? Especially all those people who are obviously screwing up their lives that I can easily see the answers to? Because I did in the past and it was bad.
There is always information I don't have. They don't grow if they aren't self-determining. And because I believe to my core that each of us should choose for ourselves whenever possible.
And that is something I would like to persuade you of. That you should choose for yourself. I believe it with all my heart. Because that is what this power is truly for. To testify of truth in a way that allows others the chance to choose it for themselves. Because we are all more capable, more powerful, than we know.