“You’re as stubborn as a mule.”
Words uttered by my husband on many occasions.
And, well… it’s probably not a coincidence that one of my favourite animals is a donkey. I was even gifted the sponsorship of two cute donkeys for my last birthday!
Being stubborn is a trait that certainly no other family member of mine has (hahahaha… ok… that was a good joke!), but there have been two major life events that have really made me realise how stubborn of a person I can be.
The first was getting married.
This isn’t a marriage blog, and it isn’t that my dear, patient husband and I disagree a great deal, but he is just a very reasonable person. And when a very reasonable person tells you that you are being too stubborn a lot, it makes you think.
The second was having to deal with chronic pain and illness.
When you have chronic conditions, you have to have a layer of stubbornness about you, to just get through your day. You don’t get a respite, so you tough it out and stubbornly do what you have planned anyways.
Sometimes this is a good thing. It gives you grit and determination. It holds you together when you could easily fall apart. It keeps you carrying on.
Sometimes it is a bad thing. It tricks you into thinking you are stronger than you are, so you push yourself past your breaking point. It has you agreeing to do things when you need to rest, because you want to play “normal”. It has you in pain, simply because you didn’t want to give up.
This is me.
Last year, I completed a 50km trek (before I needed a walker many days), in large part due to my stubbornness.
I became ill with my stomach flaring up very badly shortly after signing up for the walk. This meant that I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I was too stubborn and wanted to do it anyways. I wanted to walk in honour of my Uncle Bob, and to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
Those goals drove me on, and when, at km 13, the nausea from my gastroparesis kicked in, I was too stubborn to give in. When I started being ill, and should not have continued to walk, I carried on. (Note: I had trained and it was simply hit and miss as to how my stomach behaved on walks.)
Which was either very admirable, or foolish. Most likely the later… I did pay very much for several days for my stubbornness.
Despite this, I am proud of my achievement. I completed something that many healthy people couldn’t do! I also raised money for a good cause and did something that I felt my Uncle would have been proud of me for.
It also helped me feel normal, as by the end of the walk, a lot of people were sick and in pain. Not just me!
Overall, stubbornness has its place, but it is up to us to know when to limit it and to listen to our loved ones when they tell us that we better resemble a donkey than a human.
Something that I’m still working on.