Does stubbornness help or hurt chronic illness?

Being both stubborn and chronically ill - when does it help and when does it hurt?

does being stubborn help or hurt chronic illness

I am one of the most stubborn people on the planet.  And I hate being wrong.  A LOT.  And when I do end up giving up on something, I beat myself up over it. 

does being stubborn help or hurt chronic illness

When Dave and I were first married (like 2 days married) we both realized that we were equally matched I the stubborn department.  We were moving my furniture into the moving truck so I could join him at his duty station in NC.  Well.  We had to do it during the week, when all my peeps were working, so we were on our own.  And I had this massive couch.  How in the freakin’ world I ever got it into the apartment, I’ll never know.  It was a second floor apartment with our own set of stairs coming up to a narrow landing. (2924-1/2 Markbreit, I always loved the ½ part of the address).  We got the flipping thing stuck on the landing. And of course we BOTH knew the right way to get it out and we did NOT agree on what that was; neither was willing to budge.  Fun times. I still picture as plain as day that stupid couch stuck, almost vertical, on the landing and both of us, arms crossed, telling each other off.  LOL.

(Yes, we somehow got it unstuck, and yes, we are both still as stubborn as ever)

Sometimes that stubbornness has served me well with my RA. Like not giving up on the things I am determined to do. But other times it causes me to not listen to my body and I make things worse for myself.  It’s like a ying/yang thing.  I wish I could keep just the positive side of the stubbornness but I’m too stubborn to change….. Seriously though, it’s something I’m working on.  I believe we can keep the positive attributes of our character traits and start to let go of the ones that hurt us. 

So what am I talking about exactly? Here are a few examples:

Exercise  I am determined to keep moving no matter what. I have a couple classes that I love going to at the gym, and will get there even when I really ought to listen to my body and do something gentler.  And I think that’s my key – It’s good to be too stubborn to sit and rest, but I need to be more willing to adjust what I’m doing. With RA, it’s a move it or lose it situation.  BUT it’s okay to miss step class and head to yoga instead, take a walk around the block, or a gentle swim in the pool.  AND yes, it’s totally okay to take a day off and rest. Goal #1 is to be stubborn about LISTENING more intently to what my body needs and stay active in a safe and smart way.

does being stubborn help or hurt chronic illness

Coach volleyball – My youngest is 15.  Only three more years before she’s off to college.  That’s what drives me to stay involved in coaching.  But I’ll tell you, there are days when it’s too much.  Too long of a day, too much activity, too much stress. During those times, my RA will rear its ugly head: fatigue, joint pain, sickness.  If it weren’t for the days that were completely rewarding – seeing a young athlete master a skill they’ve been working hard at or running into a former player who is excited to share what’s going on in their life….not to mention sharing this experience with Hana like I did with her sisters.  But I need to delegate, find knowledgeable help and utilize them.  Yesterday I was able to do just that with two super capable helpers – and they enjoyed me giving them freedom to work with some players who needed extra help.  So Goal #2 is to be stubborn about delegating.  I can make sure things are done without necessarily being the one to do them!

Run a business – I never set out to run a business.  But changing my lifestyle and adding in oils and supplements made such a tremendous difference in my health, I had people asking me for information and help.  I love to help people, so a business was born.  It’s been so amazing and rewarding (in many ways); I’m incredibly thankful that God led me down this path.  My stubbornness serves me well here, because it’s not easy to start a business. There are times when it would have been easy to give up. But that’s not in my DNA.  Stress is BAD for everyone in general, but it is especially bad for those of us with chronic illness like RA. Balancing a busy schedule is stressful.  Dealing with people can be stressful (especially for my introverted self).  You get the picture.  Time and stress management is crucial to not ending up in a full blown, bed-ridden flare.  Goal #3 is to be stubborn about time management – to be sure to block out personal time to rest and rejuvenate.

I’ve taken to using my diffuser to run blends that help me relax and focus.  It helps me to stay on task with these three goals to use my stubbornness to my advantage.  I never realized how powerful essential oils can be emotionally.  My fav lately has been black pepper and lime – may sound like a strange combo but it works great for me

does being stubborn help or hurt chronic illness

Lime has the ability to boost inner clarity, which allows for better decision-making. It can stimulate your sense of internal purpose while boosting your determination to move forward. I have found it extremely beneficial for reducing stress levels and boosting my mood as well.

Black Pepper is good for those of us who deal with worry, including the worry from being too stubborn to let something go.  It allows us to release negative energies and embrace our own strengths. It gives us the focus and courage to overcome those things that we struggle with.

What are some character traits that you both struggle with and benefit from?

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