• S.E. Burr

I Give Up: Why Being Stubborn is Good but I've Decided to Quit Anyway

I believe that stubbornness is one of the most underrated of human characteristics. I don't mean "determination" which is a positive attribute people assign to someone who's perseverance has already paid off and they've achieved something remarkable. I'm talking about "stubbornness," a negative attribute that people assign to someone who is sticking with something or someone that everyone around them disapproves of and believes is going nowhere.

I've been thinking about the stubbornness required for someone to be steadfast in her religious belief when everyone around her has lost their faith and the stubbornness required for an atheist to be steadfast in his religious unbelief when everyone around him claims to have found God. However you feel about religion, I hope you can see how much strength, perhaps even nobility, people like this are displaying by choosing to stand firm in what they believe to be true, despite everybody else thinking they're crazy or plain evil.

Stubbornness is important in our relationships with others. Is there anything more stubborn or more powerful than for a person to love and care for a child who believes they don't deserve to be loved? Let's face it, a child who feels that way behaves like a horrible brat; they make you angry, and so, in part, you decide to love them out of spite. They say, "You can't love me. I'm horrible," and you say, "Try and stop me. Whatever you do, whoever you are, I will always love you. I can. I will. I do. I love you." That's the kind of stubbornness that saves lives, that saves souls, you hope theirs, but, at the very least, your own.

I think a certain amount of stubbornness in love is necessary if you want to maintain any kind of lasting relationship with anyone. No one is perfect; everyone will let you down sooner or later. Be they spouses, partners, parents, brothers, sisters, or friends, I believe that adults need to be loved stubbornly, i.e. despite their flaws, just as much as kids, but it may be more complicated. Please be careful with yourself. Life and relationships are perilous. You may be harmed.

That being said, some of the most rewarding relationships that I have had in my life have been with people who others disapproved of, whether it was because they had rough pasts, or rough exteriors, or for some other rough reason. Understand that if you choose to stand by someone who is in any way visibly broken (or even just unusual) you will be judged. But without people standing around, watching and judging you, there would be no one to call you stubborn, and as I hope I've established, stubbornness is one of the most underrated of human characteristics, and therefore, a great compliment.

But, is it possible to be too stubborn? There are several aspects of my life where I have to say to myself, again and again, "I will never give up." Some of these feel essential to my character, things I can't give up on if I want to be the person I think I am, but it takes a lot of emotional effort to commit, again and again, to doing, often frustrating, things FOREVER.

I'm pretty sure that giving up on writing wouldn't make me a bad person. I can give up on it, and I've decided that I will.

After I've written, published, and promoted ten books, if things aren't better, if I don't have a lot more readers, if people's lives aren't being touched by my words, if I still have to work a job that isn't as challenging or rewarding as it could be, because it leaves me time and energy for writing, then I'm going to give up. I've spent about eleven serious years on this. I've published three books, not counting the one I decided I didn't like and took down. Two more are finished, aside from final revisions, and I'm currently working on the rough draft of a sixth book. Over the years, my writing pace has sped up, so it should take me, at the most, five years to get to ten books. So that's your time frame, Writing Career. This is an ultimatum. Get your act together or I'm calling it quits. Maybe ukulele playing can be my new dream. It seems easier to love than this mess.

Recent posts that might interest you:

Best Heard in Silence: Spoken Voice vs. Written Voice

The Problem with Romance: Mr. Right Can't Fix What's Wrong

Secrets and Hidden Depths

If for some, probably stubborn, reason you'd prefer that I don't give up on this nonsense, you may want to check out my books. I've just put out an electronic boxed set of the first three books in the "Gobbled" series which you can get for 30% less than if you buy them separately.

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