Wowser, it’s been a while!
A relative of mine called the house yesterday afternoon and we talked at length for a while about various things going on in the world. They told me about their work, I shared tales of living at home, and a particular thing that happened recently that’s been on my mind a lot. Without going into detail, they ended their summation of this issue with “Well, let’s face it Carmen, you’ve always been very stubborn.”
In fairness to my relative, that wasn’t the first time I’ve been told this. Usually it’s revealed to me that Taurus was the second choice of whatever astrology enthusiast picks in guessing my starsign because I’m so particularly stubborn, like many farmyard animals and other people born in April. How funny and mildly disappointing that they never pick my obvious creativity, sense of humour, or modesty when guessing my starsign. Incidentally, most astrology enthusiasts, when asked, assume I’m either a Leo (perhaps owing to the amount of leopard print I wear?) or a Scorpio. I have no idea what being a Scorpio involves, however whenever I see or hear that word, it makes me think “Scorrrchio!”
It’s now become a fairly common joke between my mum and I that I am a very stubborn person. The usual response I give to this is “Well, if you say so, I suppose,” which doesn’t seem to make people change their minds, it gives them a slightly sour grin across their mug, pleased with themselves that they’re right. I don’t mind so much. Astrologers more than most need to take small victories where they can, no matter how vague or false their victory may be. Had I said “I’m not stubborn” it leads them to conclude that I am indeed particularly obstinate and therefore they’re proved correct, and in agreeing that I am stubborn at times, they’re proved correct. There are few ways I can think of to counter an accusation of stubbornness. The best I’ve got is to quietly smile to myself that no matter what, they still believe in astrology. Bless.
Where’s the line between being stubborn, assertive, and a pushover? If assertive is some sort of golden mean, how does one go about moving towards it? If someone gave me constructive criticism, how do I decide whether it is actually constructive or just a useless disagreement, as surely a genuinely stubborn person would not be able to tell the difference? There are times when I’ve stuck to my guns on something I thought was correct, and probably a few occasions as a teenager when I dug my heels in despite many people around me telling me otherwise (like my decision to go to a less academically successful but more social college) but there are far more occasions in my adult life when I’ve made a decision and changed my mind based on perspectives that reframed a debate in my mind.
I happen to disagree that I am a very stubborn person. Argumentative, attention seeking, fabulously dressed, perhaps. But now that this opinion of me is so prevalent among a section of people, what lengths would I need to go to if I wanted to change it?