There are times in your life to be stubborn; holding tight to your deepest values, for instance, is a good thing. There are also times when being too set in your ways works against you. The real secret is knowing when holding firm is a good idea and when being more open is the smart move.
Call it stubborn, obstinate, or narrow-minded, it all adds up to the same thing: Being unwilling or unable to look at new ways of thinking and doing things.
Nearly all of us are stubborn to a certain extent, myself included. In fact, I used to be a lot more stubborn than I am today (I promise, my friends and family will attest that I’ve mellowed!). I vividly recall how clinging to my stubborn ways hurt me in life and I want to help you avoid the same heartaches I went through. That’s why I’m writing this post.
How Being Overly Stubborn Negatively Impacts Relationships
Most of us can easily see stubbornness in other people, yet most of us are flat-out lousy at recognizing it in ourselves.
Being too stubborn wreaks havoc in our lives, especially in our relationships with others. People who are too set in their ways frequently experience problems in their interpersonal relationships at work and home. Even worse, they’re often flummoxed about what’s going. They can sense something is wrong, but they can’t quite figure out why others tune them out or rebuke them.
No one likes to be in a relationship with someone who has a closed mind and isn’t willing to do their fair share of give and take. That’s true in the workplace, with friends, and with family, too.
In marriage, stubbornness is particularly detrimental; you’d think that two stubborn people with the exact same beliefs and thoughts could make a great couple, but the truth is that stubborn people will always want things their way and they seldom if ever compromise. When two stubborn people partner up, get ready for the War of the Roses.
Strong relationships require getting your own needs met while at the same time helping others get their needs met too. Stubbornness prevents us from caring about those around us the way they want to be cared for. If you’re too stubborn, you’ll end up with strife, aggravation, and a boat-load of stress in your life.
15 Signs That You’re Way Too Stubborn
Here’s a list of 15 signs that indicate you could be too stubborn. Don’t freak out if you see yourself in a few of these (remember, I started this post by saying there are times when being stubborn can be a good thing).
If you see yourself in a lot of these signs, you’ll want to keep reading to learn what to do about it.
1 You don’t welcome others’ suggestions. You close down when someone suggests doing something that’s outside your comfort zone.
2 You don’t enjoy doing things in the spur of the moment. Spontaneity is a problem for you.
3 You cling to your routines and your set plans. You know how life works, and you plan accordingly. You don’t entertain the idea that you could be wrong.
4 You say “No” a lot more than you say “Yes.” Stubborn people tend to be closed, and that means “no” is a far more comfortable response than “yes.”
5 People tell you to lighten up and it irritates the heck out of you. You’re often seen as too serious, but you don’t get it. You think you’re just being practical, while others see you as being stuck in your ways.
6 You may or may not be proud of this, but you enjoy judging others. You’d be happier if the world thought and acted as you do, and you are judgmental when others think or act in ways that conflict with how you lead your life.
7 Changing your mind isn’t just hard for you; it’s darn near impossible. You think of yourself as being reasonable and open-minded, but in reality, your mind is set in its ways and it takes a ton of evidence to convince you to change your mind about anything.
8 You don’t just want things to be your way; you need for them to be your way. You experience significant discomfort when you don’t get things your way. It shakes you to the core.
9 You take arguing to an art form. You need people to see things your way; you have a deep desire to be validated, and when others disagree with you, you’ll argue your point for hours, hoping to convert them to your way of thinking.
10 Letting things go is hard for you. Very hard! Stubborn and obstinate people hold on to grudges, resentments, slights, and hurts far longer than is emotionally healthy.
11 You relish the chance to prove your point, and it’s even better if you can prove someone else wrong at the same time. Most people enjoy being right; stubborn people not only like to be right, but they also enjoy proving others wrong.
12 If anyone tells you that you can’t do something, you’ll do just about anything to prove them wrong. The upside of being determined to prove you can do things that others don’t think you can do is that it can work wonders in your career … no bar is too high for you. The downside is that you can work so hard to prove others wrong that you may put your own well-being or your relationships at risk to do so.
13 You may be a bully (MAY … not definitely). Stubbornness correlates to bullying behavior. People who refuse to compromise and who use manipulative or bullying tactics to get their way are typically very stubborn people (not to mention, not very nice people!).
14 Admitting you’re wrong simply doesn’t happen. Even if you eventually see errors in your thoughts or behaviors, you tend to rationalize why you’re still right rather than admit you’re flat-out wrong about anything.
15 You’re the master at getting the last word. Even now, you’re thinking this list isn’t all that fair or complete … and you’d like me to know that.
If You’re Reading This to Help “Fix” a Stubborn Person in Your Life, I’ve Got Some Bad News for You.
As much as you’d like to help the stubborn people in your life see the error of their ways, the truth is that pointing out the many ways in which they’re being stubborn will only send them into defense mode, and they’ll likely just dig in even deeper to their obstinate ways.
Sure, you can pass this post along to the stubborn person in your life and ask them to read it; but if it backfires, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
So What’s the Benefit of Reading this Post for You?
I just love it when a person wonders if they’re being too stubborn; it means they’re open-minded and willing to think about their thoughts and behaviors. If that’s you, pat yourself on the back right here and now!
Personal growth happens when we’re ready to turn the magnifying glass on ourselves and take a deep, noncritical but thoughtful look at ourselves. Greater self-awareness leads to more fulfillment, happiness, and success in our lives. So there’s a HUGE benefit to you in examining what could be signs that you’re stubborn, or at least a little too set in your ways.
8 Things to Try If You Believe You Might Be a Little Too Set in Your Ways
If you’re set in your ways, there’s a reason: you’re defensive because you are afraid of letting your guard down.
You fear that you could be hurt or wronged. And, yes, that can happen. Yet, living behind a shield is no way to live your life. It may block some hurt in your life, but it’ll also block out much of the happiness and love you could experience if you’d just be a little more willing to reach out and try new things and switch up behaviors that are keeping you stuck.
Here are 8 practical ways you can make sure you’re not clinging to stubborn ways:
1 Learn active listening techniques. Lean in and really listen when others are talking; don’t just pause until it’s your turn to speak.
2 Practice more self-love and self-acceptance. One of the reasons you’re stubborn is that you’re defensive; you’ve had trouble with others in the past, and undoubtedly, that’s hurt your self-esteem. When you’re more loving towards yourself, you’ll be more loving towards others.
3 Echo others’ words before speaking your own thoughts. Repeat back the other person’s words before you express your side of the issue. Make sure you understand what they’re really saying and why they’re saying it.
4 Start using this mantra on a daily basis: “I’m not always right. I listen to others attentively with an open mind.”
5 Be a “judgmental thought” detective. Notice how many times a day you’re being judgmental and every time you notice a judgy thought, remind yourself that you’re not a judge!
6 Practice humility. No matter how smart you are, no one likes a know it all. Embrace humility as a core value from now on.
7 Practice positive thinking. Stubbornness tends to be related to negative thinking. Change your thoughts, and you can change your life!
8 Discover where and how your thinking is distorted. When your beliefs are distorted, your thoughts and your words will be, too. Learn more about where and how distorted thinking is hurting you.
Break Free of Stubbornness and Your Life Gets a LOT Better!
Stubbornness, obstinance, and closed-mindedness will only shut off your life to the goodness around you.
Staying stuck in your ways will never lead to living the life you dream of living.
You deserve to live a happy, rich life complete with supportive, caring, loving relationships.
When you open yourself up to different thoughts and ideas, your world will expand. And, the people in your life will be drawn to you instead of frustrated by you! So drop those stubborn ways today and watch as a whole new happier life unfolds for you.