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Stubbornness: When It’s a Positive vs. When It’s a Negative

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By Grant Stenzel, MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Being stubborn is a two-way street: we can either use it to defend ourselves and our opinions, or we can use it in other, more destructive ways. Either way, learning the two faces of stubbornness can help you assert yourself and achieve your goals while maintaining a calm and kind presence.

Don’t Be a Bully

We all know the negatives of being stubborn: being close minded, refusing to compromise, rejecting others’ ideas and more. Always remember, being assertive is never an excuse to be rude or mean. Bullying others into doing things your way, being overbearing with your opinions and refusing to budge is when stubbornness becomes a vice.

I try to remind people that being close minded can add distance between yourself and others. It’s impossible for every single situation to go “the way you want”, and learning to compromise with others can be a great way to build your relationship with family, friends, and even coworkers.

Assertiveness vs. Aggression

Many mistake assertiveness as aggression, but asserting yourself is a perfectly healthy and normal behavior. Using confident language and expressing your thoughts in a constructive way is a great chance to gain access to the things you want.

We shouldn’t be afraid of new opinions and thoughts, but instead, we should embrace them and adjust our own if needed. Just remember: be assertive in your beliefs, be kind, and recognize your limits.

It’s Ok Not To Agree

One thing to understand is that you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says 100% of the time. Differing opinions can be a wonderful learning experience if handled with productive conversation. Don’t let it bother you if someone doesn’t understand your opinions or speaks out against them. You can’t always please everyone, and thats ok!

Learning to identify stubbornness for what it is can play a bigger role in your life than you might imagine. If you want to learn more or want to discover how to manage your own behaviors, our counselors at Stenzel are here to help.