Being stubborn is a flaw when it is harmful to others or to us. Recently I wrote about how stubbornness is a strength; and it is. However, I’ve worked with countless retirees who are stubborn to their own detriment.
Typically this shows up around unhealthy personal habits. These include isolating oneself socially, smoking, eating poorly, drinking too much, refusing to ask for help, hoarding and more.
These behaviors may be manageable when you are in your 50’s and 60’s. However, as you age, the habits will GREATLY diminish your ability to remain independent. They will also be harder to change.
How Being Stubborn Affects Relationships
If you ever get to the point where you stubborn defend an unhealthy behavior, you will likely butt heads with at least one person who really cares about you. You might find yourself in solitary confinement with behaviors that are slowly incapacitating you
A more severe viewpoint is that you are slowly killing yourself.
Holding onto an unfortunate habit over taking care of yourself not only drives a wedge between you and yourself but you and others. So not only do you make a choice to harm yourself, you leave a legacy of sadness and guilt.
When your loved ones try to convince you to change your habits and you don’t, they are left feeling like they did not do enough. They watch a train wreck in slow motion and it’s extremely painful.
Stubbornness can also be a way that retirees strain relationships. Holding onto viewpoints or treating others in a way they do not like drives people away from us. This can strain the very relationships that we need most as we age.
Do you know you’re stubborn? Do others complain about it? If so, then you have to find ways to be kinder to yourself. Leaving a legacy of at least attempting to care for your own health and well-being is a demonstration of love for your family and friends. Not just yourself.
Asking for help from a trained therapist can be a good way to address your behavior. A therapist a neutral party so their approach is often taken less personally. If fitness is a concern, hiring a trainer or dietician could prove to be helpful.
People often say they don’t have the money to hire a professional. These are the same people who would have no problem paying for prescription pills or a hospital stay. Consider that if you paid a professional to help you to be healthier, you wouldn’t need to pay for those pills or a medical specialist.
If you find yourself digging into a stubborn viewpoint, try stepping back or to the side and seeing things a different way. You may be able to find a way to make room for a different opinion or habit. At the very least, you could see that messages from family and friends are laced with love and care. It’s a much healthier piece of real estate to stand on!
Want more tips, download a cheat sheet: Stubbornness Cheat Sheet