At one point or another, we’ve all held on strongly to our point of view. Some have even gone to great lengths to enforce it. But is it really worth it? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of doing so? Well, it’s easy to pronounce yourself a “difficult” or “assertive” person as an excuse to being inflexible or hard headed and many of us do on a daily basis without remorse or a second thought to what the consequences might be. However, you do not need to have a degree in Psychology to eventually realize that being malleable can bring you a lot of benefits if this trait is put to good use.
Most commonly, the act of being stubborn arises in a conflict. Regular people do not become fixated on something out of sheer predisposition or out of boredom. And, even the most patient and sensible of individuals is susceptible to a bout of stubbornness if provoked enough. Surely you might think that as long as you know that what you are being stubborn about is “the right thing to do”, then there is a plausible explanation for the said behavior. But, actually, there isn’t.
What do I want to achieve by being stubborn?
Forcefully imposing your will or preference is what it truly is. When you insist on having something your way you leave your partner with only two choices: to comply or to oppose. Unfortunately, it’s quite a rare case to see somebody complying under these circumstances. On the other hand, aggression is the natural response and a similar response arises from the other person. At this point, it no longer matters whether you are right or wrong and a negative “game play” is set into motion. Spirits will run high, unwanted conclusions will be drawn and no valuable point will be agreed upon. So, next time you feel like “acting out”, ask yourself: “What do I want to achieve by doing this?”. Is the answer to this question “compliance”, “acceptance” or something else entirely?
Find the reason behind the behavioral pattern. For some people the precursor is a fight or the sentiment of being wronged, but for other it’s fear of losing their footing in a relationship. People have a knack for being stubborn when they feel their position to be threatened. We might think that it is paramount to hold onto some beliefs or habits in order to be safe, but that is not always the case. It is ten times more useful to think of the reason for why we behave in such a manner instead of simply falling prey to intuition or impulsive tendencies. If there is something we consider necessary, there are various other ways of approaching our partner and to convince him or her. Be it a simple “I’m sorry”, buying a new car or simply requesting for a minor change in attitude, stubbornness is not the most effective ways of obtaining any of these.
The art of letting go
It might not seem like much, but learning how to relinquish your hold over something is quite hard, especially if it’s something you truly believe in. While it might make sense that you strictly uphold your principles and beliefs, there are many situations in which you’d be better off by letting go. The ability to see the bigger picture is also required for you to be able to do this. The end result should be your target, not the fleeting reassurance of obtaining someone’s approval in an argument. Although circumstances vary, flexibility has always been the source of a successful result. This also applies to relationships. It might seem right to maintain a certain direction or certain requirements, yet the reality of things greatly differs from what we imagine to be correct. Being right about something and obtaining a positive result by imposing your point of view are two different things. It very often happens to have negative effects instead. So, before you foolishly persevere in a certain direction, think if you could obtain better results by relinquishing this battle. Your perspective should be set on the long run and your target should be the end result.
Extremes are often associated with undesired effects. Stubbornness, in any of its forms, is in itself an extreme manner of reacting and, by default, not the most gratifying ones. While it sometimes might be useful to display that you have a backbone and that you do not renounce your rights at the smallest push from someone, finding the correct balance is the true challenge. Redirect your stubborn impulses towards positive and constructive situations, do not overindulge in the act and take several factors into consideration before deciding on a course of action. Remember, being strong-willed and mule headed are not the same thing!