When "Hard-Headed" is a Good Thing!

A few years ago I wrote a blog defending the term “Third Wheel” because I felt that it had gotten a bad rap. A recent experience has helped me see that “Hard Headed” is another term that needs some defending.

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As a child, growing up in a Scandinavian household, I heard the term “hard headed” get used all the time. It was usually my Norwegian father describing my Swedish mother or visa versa. Trust me – they could both dig in their heels and become immovable, so if the term is meant to describe people who have a stubborn streak, then I grew up with terrific examples of what “hard headed” looks and sounds like.

So, what changed my mind, or at least opened my eyes to another perspective of the term? It was actually a walk in the park. Many of my blog posts come from experiences (or thoughts) I have while walking my dogs. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon, albeit the path in the park had a light dusting of snow on top of layers of ice. It had rained ice so we had a good, treacherous coating. I was minding my own business when a person came along with her dog on the very narrow path and disrupted my lovely afternoon. Her dog decided to lunge at one of my dogs, and the next few seconds turned into something that might have made for an amusing video, but in person it was terrifying. My dog tried to get away and ran behind me, taking my legs out from underneath me with her leash. I went from vertical to horizontal in the blink of an eye – landing smack on the back of my head. Before I could think about the fall I had just taken I needed to react to the dog situation.  I heard the girl screaming because her dog had run away, my dog had busted out of her harness and was chasing her dog, and she had just seen me trash my head on the icy sidewalk and probably thought I was dead! I popped up like nothing was the matter and called for my dog to come back to me.  The first miracle of the day happened when she actually responded to the call. I have had Siberian Huskies for 22 years and I have never had one come when I call!   The second miracle occurred when I got home and realized that although my brain felt foggy, my head didn’t hurt at all.  How could I land full force on the back of my head and have no pain?  Because I am “hard headed”! 

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That day I was super grateful to be “hard headed” and thought there must be other times that it is a good thing to be “hard headed”.  So, here’s my defense of being “hard-headed”

1.       When you are closer to the cupboard door than you thought, and you stand up hitting your head on the corner

2.       When your grandson pegs you in the back of a head with a snowball

3.       When you think you can shallow dive in the pool and you’re wrong

4.       When you are getting pressure from someone to do something you don’t want to

5.       When you believe strongly in something (even if you are the only person with that viewpoint)

6.       When you are standing up for someone

7.       When you really don’t understand something and aren’t willing to pretend that you do

8.       When someone needs your help and won’t ask for it

9.       When you are tasked with doing something hard and part of you wants to quit, but the other part refuses to be a quitter

10.   When you’re tired of giving in to other people’s ideas

I watched my Dad be “hard-headed” about a lot of things and sometimes I was embarrassed by that. Now, as an adult, I have a great deal of respect for the times I remember him being the only one in the room to speak out with the unpopular suggestion. If he believed in it, he was going to stand by his beliefs. I admire that in him, and hope that a bit of his “hard headedness” rubbed off on me – in more ways that just protecting my brain when I crash on the ice. I vote that we give “hard headed” a break and not always think of it as a bad thing. Maybe we need to have National Hard Headed Day!