Most people think of stubbornness as a "negative" quality, and indeed, it can be. However, I've discovered that for Sensitives (Introverts, Empaths, and Highly Sensitive People), stubbornness is a quality we need to develop. And I mean this in the context of needing to be stubborn enough to insist that we do life "our way," which allows us to be true to our needs as a Sensitive.
Why is this necessary? Well, for starters, let's take Introverts. They are constantly shamed and ridiculed for being quiet or needing alone time in bigger doses than Extroverts. Society screams at them about what a "loser" they are, how they should be more social, and how they should be more like Extroverts to be approved of by others. Pretty harsh, right? An Introvert without a strong sense of self and their needs might succumb to the pressures and try to force themselves to live their life like an Extrovert does, for the sake of belonging and acceptance.
That breaks my heart. And it happens all.the.time.
Now let's look at HSP's & Empaths. They're constantly told something's wrong with them, they shouldn't be so sensitive or "weak," they just need to suck it up and deal, stop being a special snowflake, etc. They very easily get talked out of and shamed out of doing the very things they need to do in order to take care of themselves, and they suffer from it. To belong and be accepted rather than harshly judged by their peers.
This, too, breaks my heart. And it happens all.the.time.
That's why we have to grow our stubbornness.
So what about this stubbornness to stay true to my way (As a Sensitive)?
It looks like this: when life and society try to pull me towards someone else's agenda, which they will, always and in all ways, I have to constantly shepherd myself back to what's true for me, as a Sensitive, and what I know I need to thrive. Key phrases: 'I know ' and 'I need.' Not 'they pretend to know' and 'they demand.'
So what does that look like in action? Taking moments throughout the day to pause and ask myself, “how am I doing? What do I need?” And then following through on that specific need. Knowing that the needs I have as a Sensitive are different than the needs of a non-Sensitive, and honoring those needs rather than deny myself of them. It’s about pausing at other times of the day just to do some simple conscious breathing exercises to calm my nervous system.
It’s reminding myself that I’m allowed to exist and take up space in the world, I don't have to be different than how nature made me, and I’m worthy of creating a scenario that I can thrive in!
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!' And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important."
― Iain Thomas
If this type of stubbornness is something you want to grow in yourself too, I talk about all of this and more in an interview on the Introvertpreneur podcast that airs July 1, 2021. Check it out here. For a deep dive into honoring your own sensitivity, click here.