I’m afraid of change and I hate being told what to do.

I had a major AHA last night: I am stubborn as fuck. 

I hate when I am forced to change up my routine. I do not take kindly to unsolicited feedback — whether it’s given with the best of intentions or not. And I strongly dislike being challenged.

Even when it’s good for me.

Even when I know that the person telling me something is dead on with their advice.

Even when leaning into the change is a thousand percent less stressful than fighting against it.

And because I am completely steeped in denial about how rampant this personality trait is, I tried to tell myself that this is a new behavior. Something that started in the last year or so.


As a child, my mom would look over my writing assignments. I would throw together some half-assed writing and hand it over so I could go back to watching television or spend an hour on the phone with a friend. My mom would look it over, mark it up, and make me re-do it all. I’d scream and carry on like a lunatic because I didn’t want to hear what she’d have to say. An hour or two later, and I’d made every single change she’s suggested. Because, of course, she was right.

As an adult, I have a hard time when my routine gets thrown off. Case in point, The Babe was on a sleep strike. All she wanted to do was snuggle and be held and sleep on top of me. And I have been unhappy about that arrangement. I’m exhausted, overstimulated, and in dire need of some alone time. So I fought her. Tooth and nail.

The more I fought her, the more intense she became.

She whined louder, threw more tantrums, and was clingier than ever before.

The minute I leaned into it and just accepted it for what it was, her behaviors decreased. It’s now to the point where she’s napping next to me (while I work on the computer) and is back to sleeping in bed at night. Sure, she’s still getting up around 3 or 4 AM and coming into our bed, but that’s SIGNIFICANTLY better than what it was 4 short days ago.

I don’t even want to think about all of the times that I get angry when people try to give feedback around something I’m doing. (Sorry mom. Sorry babe.) Because that would fill another 100 Days—if not more—of crap to own up to and clear.

Suffice it to say, my initial response is always NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO and more NO. Followed by a whole lot of swearing and sulking before it finally sinks in. I usually end with a quiet oh, before adjusting course.

I don’t fully understand where this stubbornness came from, or what causes it to intensify, but I do know that awareness is the first step in making a change.

I am aware of it.

I see the impact it has on my life.

I am doing my best to stay curious when it shows us, so that I can understand it better.

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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