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Read Letter

My Dear Stubborn Jil

My dear Jil, I do understand your devastation concerning his choice. You can’t imagine him picking the other lady. I know you’re wondering why he went for her and not you. You are after all “more qualified.” Yes, I do agree you have pedigree and stronger social qualities. You’re intelligent, culturally literate, well-travelled, exposed, even kind… It’s just that you’re stubborn! The problem with stubbornness is that no one wants to tell the stubborn person the truth. What’s the point? The outcome is predictable and people don’t want to waste their emotional energy. Confronting a stubborn person is a waste of energy. Behavioural intransigence often takes on demoniacal quality. And it’s debilitating trying to convince a stubborn person item by item, issue by issue, with more to come tomorrow. And where do you start from? When is it going to stop? Where is it going to end?

Now imagine someone living with you under those terms. You’ll wear him down! Even your friends circumvent telling you the truth in order to maintain the friendship. You’re stubborn! And so you hear only half truth, or convenient truth from your friends. The friends of a stubborn person must necessarily tell half-truth and convenient truth. They will only tell you truth of appeasement because they don’t want to offend you. That’s not saying there’s no basis of insistence on a position in life. We must learn to stand up for what we believe in. One must have convictions. And there are principles. But there’s a difference between stubbornness and a principled stand. Stubbornness is non discriminatory and utterly regardless of wisdom or conviction. It’s a state of being. Relationship with a stubborn person must necessarily be hard. It takes a lot of energy. It’s either you agree with a stubborn person regardless, or you bow to what you don’t agree with for peace’ sake. Either that or you come to an agreement on non-agreement; in which case a chasm is created like some virtual gulf. Both parties will be on either side of the divide, with no bridge in between, the stubborn unwilling to build a bridge. Stubbornness is behavioural resistance to non-existent “domination,” an insistence on dominating others with recalcitrance. Many times stubbornness is just holding on to a position as a matter of course, not as a matter of common-sense. Stubbornness can be so rigid it has the ramrod quality of the sinews of a soldier standing at attention at a parade ground.

So how is it going to work? Stubbornness does not augur well for a relationship. It’s unyielding in nature. I already told you men have limited emotional range and capacity. Men can’t handle strife or emotional opposition in a relationship beyond a certain limit; they either run or break down. And for many men flight is easier than fight. They will rather avoid dating a stubborn person. The idea of being locked down in marriage to a stubborn person is a scary proposition to many men. Every day there’ll be opposition in that marriage, like the British political system. Even where there’s initial agreement on basics there’ll never be total agreement over all, even on agreeable things. Why? Because stubbornness is a disposition, it is not based on facts or dependent on facts. Think of a runway. A stubborn person in an agreeable state will taxi with you quarter way. Then resistance has to kick in. The resistance is like sudden realization of change of character full of a discomfort not aligned to historical antecedence. Stubbornness is behavioural. It’s why stubborn people can be stubborn for no particular reason. Your stubbornness makes all your other qualities go pale. The stubbornness prevents an appreciation of those qualities. It is a disputation of qualities. And anyway, it will always get in the way of the full expression of those qualities. In life there are things we learn, and there are things we unlearn. Both constitute learning interestingly. You weren’t born a stubborn person. You acquired stubborn capacities. Therefore you can drop it. If something does you no good in life common-sense dictates you cut it off. That’s what Jesus meant when he said if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

You’ve got to eliminate bad traits. Your stubborn disposition is standing in the way of your dreams and happiness. Drop it! Dropping bad traits requires humility. There must be admittance of wrongdoing, wrong disposition. Humility can be very hard for a very stubborn person. Stubbornness is righteously egotistic. Yet humility is important in life. Humility is an acknowledgement of the over-arching bigger-ness of life. Humility is acknowledgement of human limitations. A humble disposition makes room for knowledge unapprehended. A humble disposition is willing to learn, makes room for learning. If you’re not willing to learn and unlearn you won’t go far in life. You’ll be stuck somewhere. Life is a gale force against a stubborn disposition. It seeks to break it. Stubbornness requires absorbent capacity for pain. Stubbornness requires resisting things stronger than our will. It’s a dangerous temperament. And when the stubborn are forced to acknowledge that which they won’t acknowledge they cry in anger and pride. And they always blame others for their self-inflicted issues. Stubbornness does that to you. When your stubbornness has Pharaohic qualities you ought to be afraid. The Biblical Pharaoh ruined himself. If you want a relationship you have to drop the stubbornness. Stubbornness destroys certain levels of intimacy and communication in marriage. It’s up to you Jil. Your stubbornness or your happiness?

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Character, stubborness

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