On Stubbornness and Self

I wish I’d known…and with that, I bite my lip, downcast and suddenly unsure of myself, uncertain of my complaint. It seems flimsy now. Invalid. Because I remember you *tried* to tell me. You always tried to tell me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t *want* to listen, or that I held no respect for your experience. Or maybe it’s exactly that. I was bull-headed; determined to walk my own path, fight my own battles, and to hell with advice or words of wisdom. 

I’ve been destined to learn life the hard way. My character has always been too full of arrogance, stubbornness, and the determination to jump in, both feet at the deep end, and flounder. It’s why I’ve found Lifeboats. It’s why I need you. I am beset by my own negligence. My own weakness. My own deliberate fault.

Stubbornness and Self - summat2thinkon.wordpress

You bear with me, through…? Not through obligation at this stage – it can only be through care and the desire to see me find success…yet I squander your good input by insisting on my own foolish way. You’re amazing, competent, kind, trustworthy, and I *so* see that, yet I’m too willing to blinker myself inside my own sphere of existence – to determinedly make mistake after mistake after mistake…

…whilst you look on, sorrowing, knowing I’ll come to you at some point with metaphorical grazes on my knees, a trembling lower lip, and eyes filled with another silent “What happened?” You’ll know exactly what happened, and how, and why. What’s worse, *I’ll* know, and the tears which spill across my burning cheeks will be laced with shame for the way I’ve trampled across your good advice and ignored your warnings. Again.

I wish I’d known…how often I’d have to rue the sentiment. How it would become a joke – how *I* would become the joke – each time I blundered off, buoyed by the certainty of my own rightness, and wandered blindly, blithely into troubled waters. 

I wish I’d known…the impact of my actions on you – how frustrating it must be to constantly battle my impudence and ignorance as I set off again, marching into combat with my boots untied and all the wrong weaponry. 

I wish I’d known…sooner and with more clarity, the depth to which my character flaws ran – the bedrock seam of stubbornness, seemingly never fully mined, which has led to an ever-widening rift. 

I wish I’d known…how much it mattered to you that I took you seriously, heeded your warnings, and acknowledged the wisdom of your experience. 

I’m learning now.

Perhaps it’s too little too late, or perhaps you’ll still make time to see the blows to my false, ridiculous pride, and decide I’m not a lost cause after all. I’d love to *feel* like less of a lost cause, and perhaps that’s another side to the issue – I’ve spent so much time flinging myself into brick walls, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not perceive myself as the prat who keeps doing it. 

It’s so easy to revert to bluster and self-importance. Too easy.

I’m trying to tame those wild-cards in my character; to become humble, heeding, more accepting, and (if not biddable, then at least) willing to entertain your viewpoint and give it some consideration before dismissing it out of hand.

I’m sorry for all the aggravation. For all the times you’ve rolled your eyes. For all the times I’ve proven inept, incapable, unequal to the situation, as you predicted. For all the times I’ve come crying to you with another mess of my own making. 

I’m ready to learn, to try, to grow up now, and thank you, THANK YOU, for all the ways you’ve borne with me, and for not having given up on me.

I hope you still want to be part of the process of my Becoming.

I hope you’ll still give me your advice.

I hope you’ll notice the change.

* * *

The above could pertain to me at any age – I’ve always had a streak of stubborn independence, utterly unwilling to accede someone else might know better, and determined to learn the hard way, despite warning. It’s the kind of characteristic which can be impudently charming in someone else’s toddler, for about 12 seconds. In a teenager it might be expected, but in an adult it’s a serious flaw, which needs working on, and it’s something I’ve been conscious of for far longer than I’ve been prepared to work on it.

I *have* been working on it though, depending on whom you ask, but I’m a long way from ‘there’ with it.

The apology is genuine – to the amalgamation of people who have encountered this side of me, and wished they could cosh me over the head as they’ve borne the frustration of being on the receiving end of my stubbornness.

The gratitude and the hopes are genuine, too.

Finish the Sentence Friday

This is part of the Finish the Sentence Friday hop, hosted by published-again author Kenya Johnson, and WordPress Editor’s Pick, Kristi Rieger Campbell (you KNOW they faymus!)

Click over to their blogs to see the other posts and link in.

 

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40 thoughts on “On Stubbornness and Self

    • I’ve been told stubbornness can be a good thing. I think that’s true but I’m (as ever) reluctant to see the good in myself about it. But thank you. I’m pleased you think I shine. I’m struggling to see that at the moment and also trying desperately to pin that on after-effects of anaesthetic rather than anything real xoxoxo

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    • I think if I’m canny about it, I can use hindsight to inform the future. I get annoyed with myself when I trip over the same thing too many times. (still happens though)

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  1. You have a beautiful mind, and I love reading your thoughts. I’m stubborn too, and it’s taken me quite a while to be open to advice. I like to think only I know what’s best for me, but of course, that’s not true. I don’t have to take everyone’s advice, but I can be open to the wisdom of others.

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    • That’s true – there’s a difference. I’m learning to acknowledge when people want to impart advice, to file it under ‘advisement’ and incorporate the thought into my action process, even if I don’t HEED what they say, as such 😉

      I like that you’re stubborn, too 🙂

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    • Thank you 🙂 Yes, words eventually make it through. Usually. I’m trying a lot harder these days to pay heed to people I know are more likely to have solid understanding (of whatever it is) than I.

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  2. Oh, this is so good. And that person you describe sounds to me like me. And that makes me feel better about myself, to know that you’re aware and open about flaws, and working to change them. Me too. Knowing this about you makes me feel more open about myself, so I hope you’ll feel hope and gratitude too, to know that you’re respected, admired and loved by many.

    I really love this one: “I wish I’d known…sooner and with more clarity, the depth to which my character flaws ran – the bedrock seam of stubbornness, seemingly never fully mined, which has led to an ever-widening rift.”

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    • Thank you – I’ve always maintained the one thing I do *really* well is screw up and be a bit of a let-down. I wonder if part of me wants to keep the bar nice and low so I don’t disappoint anyone. I wonder if part of me is probably afraid of meeting other people’s expectations, which is odd, seeing as my own are often exacting.

      I really *really* want to change for the better though. I want to use my time to become the best version of myself I can be, and that involves being open about my flaws, and aware of them in the first place. I’m glad if that makes you feel more comfortable about what you’re trying to achieve.

      If I think hard about how my friends see me, I am first and foremost just SO grateful they look on me with such high regard. If I don’t pay attention though, I sometimes feel a frisson of anxiety about it, and hope I don’t end up pedestalled.

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  3. Oh this is good. So so so good. I see you in every word. I KNOW you have been working tirelessly toward allowing the *wise* you to settle in and allowing other people’s insight and encouragement to take hold. I’m so glad you are growing more and more aware of those splinters that need pulled- so you can truly see and understand and accept everything in you and all you hope to be.

    We all have this side- oh, yes we do.

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    • Thanks Kitty. It’s a side which (I’m told) can be good as well, and strong. But I still have a tendency to opt for fault and blame. The next thing to work on, perhaps.

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  4. You may be stubborn, but I also think you listen to what other have to say. The people who stick around are the ones worth keeping, right?

    Also – new English word for me: “cosh” Like “hit,” right? I love Brit speak 🙂

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    • YES! Cosh like ‘to cudgel’ – it’s a brilliant word (when under pressure, you can also be ‘under the cosh’) and a wonderful one to drop into conversation now and again 😉

      I’ve got better at listening to other people. That’s been a very deliberate change as well, because I think I probably didn’t used to.

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  5. This is so touching, I got the goosies. “I’m trying to tame those wild-cards in my character . . . ” Lots of tug-a-wars of the heart in this piece; I found traces of my sister in your words. Truly beautiful. Clearly, you’re discerning and evolving and living while awake!

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    • Thanks so much Julie – I’m really trying to be deliberate about untangling the (far less messy, these days) person I am, and getting ordered with the heritage of different aspects of my character, and learning to manage those which have tripped me up in the past. I’m glad you liked it so much 🙂

      Living while awake. I love that. Thank you.

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  6. I think most of us suffer from this malady. What I will say to you is that in the year and a half that I’ve had the joy to know you on a friend level, I’ve seen you change so much. I feel like you’ve transformed in some ways and have come so far in your acceptance of yourself and I see much less kicking yourself than I saw in the beginning. You are a fighter, one of those people who won’t stop pursuing being stronger and healthier and wiser. And I love that about you. ❤

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    • G, that cheers me SO MUCH! Thank you. One of the things I decided a few years ago was that I wanted to use my 30’s to the best of my ability to get myself sorted out, so that I can approach my 40’s as much more of a whole-and-together sort of person. I know things happen to best laid plans, and life is unpredictable and will take us off in funny turns at odd moments, but I’m committed to putting in as much leg-work as I can, and it’s MARVELLOUS to know it’s beginning to pay dividends.

      Yes. I kick myself less. I think I’ve finally learned where to apportion the…not blame, but perhaps responsibility…far better than I had a year and a half ago 🙂 Hooray!

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    • Bluster is a WONDERFUL word, even pertaining to the weather (as per Winnie the Pooh), and…I like how the sentence was flexible. These prompts nearly always get me thinking about deep, introspective stuff, and I’m sure it’s one of the hops/writing exercises which has most contributed to the ‘unpacking’ and comprehension of my Self, over the past few years.

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  7. #4 in the linkup, you must have stayed up. I hit the sack as soon as I dropped my post off. 😉
    This is the most heartfelt, beautiful apology to “the people” I have ever read. I got goosebumps at the end. And really just assumed it was for your mom but “to the people who encountered this side of you,” you’ve got to be totally forgiven.

    Thanks for the shout out!

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    • Nope – I put it in in the morning! Then I had to go to work and have only just gotten back to it all tonight (when I have a TToT to write…frabjous!…)

      And thank you – it’s a lot to my mum, and my WonderAunty (who refutes I’m like this, but..I know I HAVE been, in the past) and, various friends who’ve encountered this side of me.

      Hopefully I’m forgiven and still ‘in the fold’ 🙂

      And you’re welcome – thanks for hosting 🙂

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  8. I don’t think I’ve experienced this side of you, but I love the way you are always willing to grow. If we don’t remain teachable, it’s a kind of death, in my opinion. ❤

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    • I hope I never lose that – I hope I always want to learn and develop. You’ve probably experienced this side of me manifest in a different way. I dunno 🙂 give it time, you’ll see it 🙂

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  9. I do believe we share that stubborn streak. Mine comes out when someone deliberately says something to piss me off or challenge the rightness of my choices. For example, my 19 yr old giving me parenting advice. I do listen and hear it but I’m sorry, who’s been parenting for longer here? And don’t tell me I can’t do something or try to force me into something I don’t want to do. I’ll dig my heels in so fast you’ll go flying over the top of me. Then I’ll go and deliberately do the exact opposite of what you want me to do… sometimes to my own regret. But on the upside, I forgive quickly and give in even when I don’t feel I’m particularly in the wrong (which makes manipulating me by guilt so easy but another topic for later). I’ve learned to compromise and sacrifice, maybe more than I should, and I know the value of apologies… and the detriment of going to bed angry and hurting.

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    • Ohhhhhhh digging the heels in. I SO VERY DO THAT! Someone tells me I can’t, or I should…ohBOY do I dig in! I’m glad we’re similar.

      The guilt thing though. That’s more worrisome, and I suppose I’m lucky I’m now out of the situations where that used to be used against me.

      I don’t know if I forgive quickly or not. I try not to hold grudges in terms of wishing ill, because I know that ends in bitterness, but…I create distance and always bear in mind.

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          • Yes, which is why forgetting and moving forward is so so so hard afterwards. This is why it’s so important to think about how we react in every situation because we make an impact with everything we do or say. One thoughtless gesture or word can ruin a lifetime, and can be remembered for even longer in some cases. But it’s so so hard to practice, and I’ve been practicing all my life. I still fail, more often than I want to and I’d like to say it gets easier, but it doesn’t and I’ve been trying since I was 12 (Louisa May Alcott was a strong influence on me then). But I can sometimes see my successes in my kids because I’ve tried to teach them that what they do matters. And I see them making better choices in how they treat people. Whether that’s due to parenting skills or example, I don’t know but I am trying my best to raise people better than I am. So, at least there’s hope, you know?

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            • Yes, and given what I’ve heard about your kids and the way they think, you’re doing a MARVELLOUS job of it, Pinky, and I’m proud of you for a) trying, and b) succeeding 🙂

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    • Ha! Perhaps. And I do rather like that condition, I just know I have one or two edges which are sharper than others, and that I need to pay attention to not letting them get too…obstructively pokey. Or something 😉

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    • I freaking OWN second. Anyway.
      So while I do not know specifically which things you refer to, I know that mostly, eventually, you listen which seems SECONDary to the fact that you’re contemplating it on your own which matters more. Truly, the way you see yourself doing and being matters FRIST before all of how everybody else sees it and processes it because that’s about them and theirs, ya know? (or me and mine, should that be the case when it is the case)

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      • It’s often enough the case 😉 Your FRIST and SECOND points are good, though, and I definitely think I’ve improved at listening and figuring on my own a bit more, however (historically) I have an ingrained habit of NOT, and I know it’s one which has tripped me in the past, and caused all manner of ructions and added layers of ‘stuff’ to situations where there needn’t have been any, had I been more able to listen and heed.

        I’m getting there. I’m firmly a work in progress, as we all are, but I’m paying attention to it more, lately 🙂

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    • Ohhh so close – FRIST, is the thing to yell, but we’ll getcha there 😉

      And…I suspect most of us have it, I just seem to have it in ABUNDANCE, which can be frustrating for those around me, yaknow?

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