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.