By Sallie Culbreth, M.S.
Under the best of circumstances, life requires enormous effort if you are to accomplish anything at all. When we witness someone who has persevered, overcome obstacles, and achieved a challenging goal, we applaud them – as we should.
Tenacity is worth celebration and is required to move beyond abuse, exploitation, and sexual trauma. Tenacity causes you to dig in and not settle for anything less than your freedom, your well-being, and your empowerment. Recovery is extremely difficult and tenacity gives you the endurance to reclaim what is yours – your life.
Stubbornness, on the other hand, may look like tenacious determination, but it can paint you into a corner and cut you off from the possibility of positive change. Believe me, I know all about stubbornness, and I’ve paid a pretty high price for it in my journey to become healthier!
Stubbornness is like a closed fist. You cannot carry anything. You cannot grab the hand of a rescuer. You cannot hold a comforting cup of tea or caressed a furry pet. You limit that full function of your hand when your fists are clenched. That’s what stubbornness does. It limits you.
Tenacity is like opening your hand. It gives you the full range of your hand’s functionality. You can build with an open hand. You can reach out and help or be helped. You can grab onto a rescuer, access nourishment, experience comfort, and pick up tools with an open hand. That’s what tenacity does. It accesses possibilities.
Stubbornness refuses to ask for help. Tenacity works hard and tries harder, but recognizes when it’s time to call in others to help you achieve your goals. Stubbornness believes the lie that you are all sufficient and that you will be considered “less than” by others if you need help. Tenacity believes the truth that you need the support of others from time to time. Stubbornness holds out to such an extreme that serious damage can be done to you or others. Tenacity recognizes that there are times when your climb is too steep to continue the way you have been going.
Recovery requires tremendous tenacity in order to move forward, become healthier, and find balance. You have to dig in your heels, refuse to accept the lies from the past, and fight for your life. The titan effort of recovery means you have made a commitment that any obstacles that stand between you and moving beyond abuse will be confronted and overcome. That’s where tenacity comes in and serves you well.
Stubbornness is tenacity’s ugly twin that resists seeking and receiving wisdom, support, and suggestions from others. Stubbornness is arrogance that cloaks your need for input beyond yourself. It blinds you to new ways of thinking and can facilitate disasters in your journey.
Take some time this week to evaluate how you approach your journey beyond abuse. Are you tenacious or stubborn? Are you open or are you tight fisted? Will you tenaciously pursue your well-being in such a way that the input of others can help you grow? Will you stubbornly close yourself in, stomp your feet, and declare “I can do it myself” while you’re slipping further and further away from your goals?
There is an important difference between being tenacious and stubborn. Which are you?
Category: Roadside Assistance - Weekly Articles