Stubbornness is a gift and a survival tool. But there are other ways to be smart and good in the world. And one of our gifts as intensives is knowing or intuiting how to respond to what is happening in the world right now: So how do we let go of stubbornness when the stubbornness is for its own sake?

Notes and transcript at:

Recorded 27 December, 2022.


Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in.

How stubborn are you anyway? I know someone who is holding out against the weather right now. Insisting that this is okay. That this is fine. Almost like that dog in that meme in the kitchen that's on fire drinking It's coffee.

How stubborn are you? How stubborn are you? And how much do you feel like it has to be that way to prove something else? Your strength, your faith, your care, your love.

For years and years and years, I got into romantic relationships, where I felt like I had to be stubbornly loving. The people I was in love with had been hurt. Often deeply. And they believed, often deeply, that they were not to be loved. And I believed otherwise. I felt otherwise. I experienced, made real, a different thing. I brought to life this other reality. And there we were.

And they finally believed it, because I was so stubborn. I was stubborn in the face of cruelty, in the face of abuse, in the face of indifference, in the face of knowing that someone else was settling. That I wasn't what exactly they wanted. Hoping that would change. Of course, it didn't change.

But I hoped and I wished and I wanted. And then, when I was not capable of presenting the perfection that they dreamed of, they would leave. And it was almost always they who left. But even when they did not leave, my stubbornness was a kind of abandoning of myself. I needed to be stubborn, to prove to myself that I was better than the voices in my own head. Who are constantly at me about not being good enough.

But I also truly needed to not be that stubborn. Not sacrifice my own wholeness on someone else's altar. I don't believe in a god who would ask for that sacrifice. It doesn't make any sense. The gods don't have to create or engage with this world, there's no obligation. They only do it because they want to. And if this is indeed a relationship based in consent, and desire and joy, they wouldn't ask for that kind of sacrifice. Nor would a loving partner. That's not how love works.

As it turns out, as my now partners tell me, that is not how love works. That is not how love works. That is not how love works. And so I am learning slowly that is not, in fact, how love works. I don't like to be wrong most of the time, but in this case, I welcome it. That other thing is not love. It is something, but it is not love. And that stubbornness, while born of love, twists itself in and on until there's nothing left of me.

I have always been proud of my stubbornness and that does not change. It is one of the key survival tools of my life. But I do not have to stubborn my way through, walking on broken glass. I don't have to. I have done it more than once; in work and in personal life. And as I slowly approach fifty I have decided that that is entirely enough of that. Stubbornness is not something that we need to cling to or to pursue.

There are other ways to show our strength and our love and our hope and our skill and our cleverness. There are other ways to be smart and good in the world that don't involve that kind of stubbornness. A certain amount of persistence is useful. After that you're just bloodying your head against the wall and for why? They're not listening. They don't care.

And if you made a commitment that turns out to be maybe not the right commitment, maybe there's information or experience that you now have that tells you that really, if you had known then what you know now, you wouldn't be doing this thing: you can decide to stop. You can quit.

And there's no shame in it. You get to say no. And your consent matters all the time, all the time, not just at the beginning, not just at the end. Consent is continually revocable. You can always change your mind about consent.

So, if you find yourself stubborning against ebb and flow; against rise and fall; if you find yourself trying to be someone you're not; if you find yourself wishing, in this season of dieting advice and planner frenzy, that you too, could be precisely and perfectly organized; or fully planned out for the year; or some other thing that is a thing that other people do and other people value, but has not turned out to be your thing: give yourself a gift and put it down.

Allow yourself to be yourself as an intensive. One of your gifts is knowing how to go with what's happening now. How to respond to what's happening now how to be with what's happening now. Be with what's happening now.

And if now is telling you that then you made a decision that needs to be changed, shed the stubbornness. Let it go. In this moment, it is not serving you.

If you'd like more like this, I went in-depth on intuition in this month's Member Podcast. You might consider joining us. In any case, have a lovely interregnum. And I'll see you in the new year.