As a teenager I would get angry when I watched a Hollywood movie and the following kind of scene unfolded: the protagonist attempts to kiss a woman. She resists. He insists. She struggles to free herself and then… and then she throws her arms around him and kisses him back. What the hell? It was some kind of offensive male vision of the world on the level of the Abduction of the Sabine Women by the Romans.
Was this something that happened IRL, my young self wondered? Should it happen? I did not think so. Was this something that male directors and male screenwriters came up with? I decided that I would not want to be around somebody that acted like either character of the film couple, neither the person who forces themselves on another nor the person who gives in to it.
Such mythology is part of some men’s vision of the world: “You have to take what you want!” “You have to overcome resistance!” Interestingly the New Age movement created an idea that is quite similar. Instead of physical action to achieve a goal the New Age version is mental action. This idea contends that one needs only to believe strongly enough to attain something. Need something? Visualize receiving it. Money will manifest for you if you envision it or ask for it. Sometimes the toxic reverse is expressed as well: if you are sick you must have done something wrong because you obviously did not visualize health strongly enough.
There is physical action – take what you want – and mental action – imagine what you want. Certainly, both of these actions can be used for good. If you wish to be stronger, take mental action by deciding to spend half an hour each day on working out and then take physical action by following through and exercising every day. If you want to be calmer, take the mental action to challenge yourself to do yoga or learn how to meditate, then take physical action by doing yoga or by sitting your body down on the cushion to meditate.
What is never okay is to try to overcome resistance, whether by using physical force or by trying to wear somebody down with daily messages. When a person says no it means no. No does not mean maybe and maybe does not mean yes. And, no never means that the person simply hasn’t yet realized how wonderful you are. No is never a challenge. No means no.