The Difference Between Being Healthily Stubborn And Not

Photo: Iuliia Khabibullina / Shutterstock
woman in a field

By Kylin Hunter

Have you ever been told that you’re a stubborn person? Maybe your friends or family have called you “stubborn” in the past, or maybe your boss mentioned it at work. In any case, it can be extremely annoying to hear that you’re “stubborn.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that you’re stubborn more times than you care to count. As a kid, I figured that word was just a way for the grown-ups to keep me in line and scold me for acting in a way they didn’t like.

Now that I’m older, I realize that being stubborn isn’t as bad as people make it out to be... provided that you’re the right kind of stubborn.

RELATED: Don't Settle For Less Than Someone Who Exhibits These 15 Behaviors

Here’s the difference between being unhealthily stubborn and healthily stubborn.

What It Means To Be Unhealthily Stubborn

We all know about the more negative type of stubbornness. This is the type of stubbornness that’s easy for even the best of us to fall into, and the type we should try to avoid.

When people want to be unhealthily stubborn, they often either want attention or want to be right even when they’re not. Maybe you insist on having the last word in a conversation or you reject any advice no matter how beneficial it can be.

The problem is that when you have this attitude, you end up causing rifts instead of understanding people and creating healthy boundaries. As a result, you’ll be the person everyone wants to avoid at work and at all of your family gatherings.

Even worse, being unhealthily stubborn can affect your health. When you constantly give off bad vibes, it’ll eventually take a toll on your mental well-being and ultimately cause you to have a more negative outlook on life.

Imagine being a grumpy, grouchy old person... but only being in your 30s. That’s what can happen when you let the wrong kind of stubbornness take over, and it’s not a good look!

RELATED: 11 Reasons Stubborn Women Make The Best Wives

What It Means To Be Healthily Stubborn

You’ve probably heard of “healthy stubborn” before, but you may have heard it framed as “tenacity” or “persistence.” All of the world’s greatest leaders both past and present, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Queen Elizabeth to Bill Gates, share these traits.

When you’re tenacious and persistent, you’re able to do what most people won’t: stand up for what’s right and move forward despite any opposition you receive.

In a time when most would rather lay low and stay quiet to keep the peace, a healthily stubborn person will make sure that the problems others hide eventually come to light even when their peers — or their inner demons — want them to stay silent.

The way that healthily stubborn people approach problems makes a difference within themselves, in the community, and even throughout the world.

Healthily stubborn people also tend to be great friends because they continue to support and believe in their inner circle’s dreams, even when they don’t believe in their own. They also apply their stubborn nature to their own life and use it to reach new levels of success.

With a healthy dose of “good” stubbornness, there’s almost nothing that you can’t achieve. Having a healthily stubborn attitude can not only be beneficial, but it’s also often a crucial part of growing as a person and succeeding in your personal and professional lives.

So the next time your friends or family call you “stubborn,” just smile and nod because you know what that really means. And sooner or later, they will too.

RELATED: How To Know The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Relationships

Kylin Hunter is a writer, editor, and tutor whose work focuses on lifestyle, wellness and relationship topics. He's a former contributor to Unwritten and Review Geek.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.