Saturday, May 14, 2016


This post is a little more personal than I often write.  And a little vulnerable.  But something I've felt like writing for the past couple of weeks.

If you ask those who know me well what word best describes me?  I wish that word was thoughtful, selfless, caring, etc.  But most often the word used to describe me? Stubborn.  It's  not always a trait I particularly love about myself.  But it is not an inaccurate description.  I will be the first to put my foot down about something I don't want to do.  And I will stick to it, sometimes to the point of annoyance to others.  That I don't like.  I don't necessarily like to be stubborn.  Sometimes I do it to prove that I can.

But the other thing that only those who are really close to me understand--I often use stubbornness to cover up anxiety about something.  Am I putting my foot down and refusing to do something out of principle or to prove a point?  Or am I doing it because I am afraid to do what someone is asking me to do? Of trying something new? I can honestly say that even I don't know the reason sometimes.  But there are times that I'm being stubborn that I just want to blurt out, "Keep pushing, I might actually say yes."  There are other times that I want to say, "Stop pushing, you're only making the anxiety worse."  This stubbornness thing, is just plain confusing.

On a positive note, I have recently come to realize that my stubbornness is a good trait to have in my job.  You give me a teenager who hates therapy and refuses to talk, and I will be able to say to that teenager, "You don't have to talk to me.  But I am going to be a solid, trustworthy person in your life for one hour a week.  Whether you want me there or not.   Your sullenness or hostility won't get me to walk away from you because I know that you need someone to stick with you.  So here I am."  Sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for over a year.  A good portion of the time, I end up with a teenager who says, "This wasn't so bad after all.  You've helped me."  Not all the time, but a good portion of the time.  Maybe it's that anxiety-driven stubbornness that helps me to be this person.  Because often that sullenness and hostility in a teenager is driven by something deeper.

When you see my stubbornness, look deeper.  You might just be surprised at what you find.