Why you should stop explaining yourself
It’s funny how people ask personal questions to a complete stranger and expect an honest answer. And when they don’t receive one they’re shocked, confused and kinda surprised. Sometimes they even give you this evil look as if you were obliged to explain yourself and reveal your deepest, darkest secrets only because they asked you for it. Of course, this statement does not apply only to our interactions with strangers but also with our family members, friends or colleagues. Everything depends on what type of person you’re dealing with. So basically, we are talking here about a social phenomenon of a suspiciously high level of curiosity and unconscious desire to over-explaining. Never heard about this phenomenon? Yeah, I know I’ve made it up right this second. I’ve based my theory on my observations of psychosocial interactions and of course on my intuition. So I guess, it makes sense, at least inside my mind. But joking aside, it’s true.
So, without any further delay, let’s talk this through. One quick question. Have you ever been in a situation that you found yourself discussing your private things, justifying your life choices or explaining your life situation to a stranger only because you felt obliged to and right after you felt upset, embarrassed and just incredibly pissed? Yeah, me too. It’s a great feeling, I really don’t recommend it. And as clearly as I understand people’s curiosity which is an essential part of human nature I just don’t get it why the hell some people ask you about the things that are none of their damn business… And the thing that amuses me most is that they’re doing this without apparent shame or embarrassment. Oh, my gosh, looking back I’ve wasted so much time for explaining, justifying and defending myself when the only right thing to do was to tell: I’m sorry it’s none of your business. Now that I think of it, I find this amusing but when I was younger it wasn’t like that.
I am a very private person and as a rule, I’m not discussing my private things with strangers. And it doesn’t matter to me how curious about my personal life someone is. So, if I have to choose between my well-being or satisfying someone else’s curiosity I will choose the first one. I called this attitude a “healthy egoism”. Of course, not everyone shares my vision but I really think that you should always put yourself first because no one else will do that. Your mental and physical well-being should be your no 1 priority for many different reasons. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that you should be rude, disrespectful or malicious. What I mean is that we all need healthy personal boundaries. Setting your limits and rules for ourselves within our relationships is crucial for maintaining mental and physical wellbeing. Personal boundaries are filters that protect us from behaviors we find unacceptable, inappropriate or abusive. Not to mention an obvious fact, that these protective barriers protect us from being manipulated and used. Which I guess, it’s what we are all trying to do in our daily lives.
Since we cannot change others we need to adopt the right attitude. The one that will protect us and ensure our wellbeing. Regardless of what others say not all decisions and life choices need to be explained. There are plenty of things that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for. Of course, everyone is different. Some people like to share their private life with just anybody. Others prefer to keep their secrets for their small circle of friends. And that’s ok. Everything starts with self-esteem, self-acceptance, and finally self-respect. On this basis, we decide what behavior we find acceptable and what not. It’s not a secret that our reality, the one that we create for ourselves determines what is normal behavior and what is not. And until you feel good about yourself and you treat others with respect your sins are washed away. That’s essentially how I feel about life and when I keep into this attitude I feel good about myself.
Having said that, let’s get into this!
10 things you DON’T have to explain to anyone:
1. Your Lifestyle
You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your way of living as an individual. Your priorities, values, opinions, beliefs, goals, dreams, activities, interests, attitudes, income, self-image, hobbies, passions, guilty pleasures are a personal matter. I know that some people are easily triggered by other people's non-traditional choices and life decisions but it’s their problem, not yours. We all have only one life (at least we have to assume that) so we should create a life we want to live. Don’t think what other people say, it doesn’t matter. Besides people who have a great deal to say about your life are usually those who know nothing about you. So I guess, it goes without saying…
2. Your living situation
Whether you live with your parents, friends, fiancè, boyfriend, ex-girlfriend or alone, it's nobody's business but your own. Same thing with the place where you live. Whether you live in a city, a suburb or the country it’s your choice or a possibility you have at this point in your life. Still, you really don’t have to explain your living situation to anybody. Besides, everyone is different. Some people love the chaos of living in a major city others prefer peaceful suburb life. And it’s nothing wrong with that. Honestly, my ideal living situation was different at different points in my life and I find it quite normal. Your living situation is nobody’s business. So if someone tries to shame you because you still live with your parents or you prefer to rent than buy don’t feel obliged to explain or defend yourself. It really doesn’t define you and certainly, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for it.
3. Your carrier decisions and the level of your education.
I’ve met a lot of people who were embarrassed about their career choices or level of their education which personally I cannot understand. I myself have two Bachelor's degrees in two different fields but I’m not working in any of them (and so what?!). So if you asked me: Was it worth it to spend more than 7 years studying at university? I would say: "yes". But it doesn’t define me as a person. I am much more than the level of my education. Besides, we live in a world, where we can choose our career path and change it multiple times in our life. And you know what? You have every right to do it. Of course, turning a passion into a business it’s the ultimate goal for many but it’s not always the case. My career path is a bumpy one but I really don’t feel ashamed of it because it's a reflection of my state of mind at different points in my life. Besides I truly believe that everything depends on us. You have control over your life, even if sometimes you were, are and will be a mess at some point in your life you still can achieve your goals. So if you are currently unemployed, you have a corporate job you hate, you work in a family business or you are freelancing it does not define you. Some people have a stable career path others don't. And it's ok. For instance, my career path can be defined as the search for myself. Am I ashamed of it? Absolutely not. So if your career path is not stable don't feel bad about yourself! Be open-minded and don't be afraid of trying new things. There is only one thing you need to remember when you're setting your goals; You need to have a plan because a goal without a plan is just a wish. So set your goals, make a plan and go for your dreams. The only one is holding you back is you!
4. Your financial situation (and how you spend your money)
How people are making and spending their money is certainly their own business. No one should be interested in someone else’s financial decisions unless they work in FICA or social security. Unfortunately living in a capitalist society makes some people believe that a person’s worth is measured by the amount of money they earn. Correct me if I am wrong, but judging someone based on their bank account is just ridiculous, stupid and incredibly sad. Although, on the plus side, I think people who are viewing others through a prism of money should be open about this and hanging out together and talk about money, the one true love of their lives. And what’s up with this money shaming? Why some people are so concerned about how others spend their money and shame those with whom they disagree? Everyone should earn, spend and invest their money whatever they want. Yes, it's so simple. Hence, I don’t explain my financial decisions. It’s just like they say: My money, my decision.
5. Your emotions
There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” emotion. Emotions and feelings are natural to human nature. They are like a signaling system. True, they have different roles, functions, and purpose but they are all needed. Some like anger, fear, and anxiety serve to protect us, others like joy, happiness, and pleasure help us to make social connections and create relationships. So if you think that some emotions are negative and others are positive you’re wrong. You just need to learn to use them as a tool, observe, interpret, acknowledge and accept them. Take some time to detect what they are “telling you” and let them guide you. If someone or something triggers you emotionally don’t act immediately because most probably it will be an emotional reaction that always comes with a cost. Instead, learn to listen to your gut, observe your emotions and respond consciously to the situation you’re in. In other words, use your emotions to your advantage don’t let them control you. And remember that whenever you feel, it’s real. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Let yourself feel it. Your emotions are always informational and relevant. Don’t beat yourself up when you feel something you don’t wanna feel. Instead, try to understand what your emotions are telling you about yourself and the situation you’re in. Stop over-explaining and justifying your emotional state. Be mindful and trust your gut!
6. Your relationship choices
Oh my gosh, I love being asked about why I am not married as if it was the ultimate goal of every woman. I completely understand that some people are thrown off-balance by something non-traditional but we live in 2020! Everyone can be with whomever they want. Yeah, ok the sole condition is that it must be legal but other than that your relationship choices are your own choices and no one else’s. So married, single, engaged, friends with benefits you decide it’s your life. Live the way you want, respect yourself and others and everything should be fine!
7. Your physical appearance
Shaming or judging others for their appearance is beyond my comprehension. If you don’t like what you see turn your head 180 degrees and go live your life. No one is interested in your offensive opinion. Some people are so incredibly close-minded that they are thrown off balance by something unusual, unconventional and “not normal” in their opinion. Furthermore, they also feel this incessant compulsion to express their shaming comments. Oh, it's so pathetic... I’ve got one quick question to such people: Do you really wanna live in a world where all people are the same, look the same and feel the same? What’s wrong with you? If you are easily triggered by a different type of aesthetics you should really work on your self-esteem because you’re only projecting your cr*p on others… So maybe it’s time to grow up? I entirely agree that everyone's entitled to their opinion but if your opinion aka comment may offend someone you’d better keep those thoughts to yourself because no one is interested. Just live and let live.
8. Your time alone
We are social creatures designed to live in a society that does not exclude the need for spending time alone. Most people do understand this and don’t find it odd. But there are some who think that if someone likes to spend time in their own company it must be some kind of recluse, loner or weirdo. Yeap, because you cannot like your own company. Hence, if you feel the need for time only for yourself it is certainly because you’ve been rejected by society… It’s definitely something wrong with you. But seriously, spending time alone essential for your health. Being alone helps you to create a relationship with yourself, listen to your inner voice, get productive, motivated and creative. Not to mention this incredible opportunity to focus on your goals, plans, and intentions. Don’t get me wrong I love spending time with my friends because they keep me grounded and make me incredibly happy but at the same time I love to dedicate some time only for myself. Because spending time in my own company helps me to understand my thoughts, feelings, and emotions better. Solitude is not the same thing as loneliness. And no, being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Besides, you’re in the best company: your own! I really don’t get people who get bored all by themselves they must be incredibly boring people. I feel great in my own company, sometimes I even take myself for a date. And you know what these are the dates when you can literally lose control and be yourself!
9. Having made mistakes
I’ve learned so much from my mistakes that I’m thinking of making a few more. Yes, I’m completely serious, most of them I could repeat perfectly. Of course, when I look back, I could certainly have saved myself some trouble and time but my mistakes lead me closer to the person I want to be aka the best version of myself. Besides “a mistake” is a relative term for me because sometimes we really think we’ve made the right decision and after a while, we realize that maybe it was a mistake and vice versa. Everything depends on how you look at things. I completely agree that there are some things that can be fixed and others are destroyed or irrecoverably lost during the whole process but it’s the very essence of life itself. Life is designed to knock you down but only because tough times and tragic situations shape our character. You learn by living whether you like it or not. So when I meet a person who tries to point out my mistakes it makes me laugh because I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t done them. Besides, it feels so good not to be perfect!
10. You don’t owe anybody an apology if you don’t feel sorry
What’s the point of apologizing when you’re not sorry? I don’t know about you but I hate insincere apology or an apology with “but”. Honestly, if you use “but” in your apology, you can put this “but” in your bu*t because I really don’t need it. What I mean is that, if you feel the need to apology just do it but do it right like an adult. Otherwise, it’s just pathetic. A real apology is genuine and sincere and certainly without “but”. A non-apology instead is expressed without remorse so it’s meaningless and worthless. I know how hard apologizing is. No one likes it because with this one word you admit that you did something wrong. And who likes to be wrong? No one! But we all make mistakes. We are all sinners 🙂 But you can be forgiven only if you are truly repentant. If you’re not sorry it means that you shouldn't apologize. Trust me I know what I am talking about. I was a people pleaser for most of my life and you know what? It wasn't worth it because people were only taking advantage of it. And I was the only one to blame. Please don’t do it because it’s the easiest way to lose respect for yourself. Trust your gut. And remember you don’t owe anyone an apology when you don’t feel you did something bad. Sorry, not sorry!
People will ask you strange, inappropriate and even rude questions because it’s not legally prohibited. Even if, we can all agree that it should be. But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what other people say. It’s your life. So instead of explaining, defending and justifying yourself and your life choices live an authentic and meaningful life!
Take care and stop explaining yourself!
5 thoughts on “10 Things You Don’t Owe Anyone An Explanation For”
Great list of things not to feel guilty about! I’m also private and I don’t like sharing everything about myself, either, and I’m not going to feel bad about who I am or the situation I’m in.
Great post, Kate!
Hi Aixa! As always, thank you for your comment! Just like you, I don’t like sharing my private things with others especially with strangers and it just amazes me how intrusive and rude questions people can ask. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked why I’m not married yet or why I am so skinny! It’s beyond my understanding why some people are so curious about that. When I was younger I used to explain, justify and defend my choices and life decisions every single time someone questioned them. Looking back I really should have wasted my time on it. I had no clue what being assertive really means… Now it’s different because I’ve learned to protect my personal boundaries and if I don’t want to talk about my private life with someone I don’t do it. But I had to come a long way to understand this. But it was worth it because I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes. So I guess it turned out to be a good thing. It’s all about respect!! P.S. I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday! Take care! 😘😘
Some excellent ones here, especially emotions and your body. Interesting point about being asked why you’re not married too; I look around at the people I used to know, such as from school and work, and at my age most of them are settled down, married and with kids. Doing those things are great, but it’s not for everyone and neither is there a predefined time when you have to do them by, it’s utterly ridiculous! Just another one of those examples of society’s ‘rules for living’ where you ‘should’ want and do things by certain ages. Let’s live our own lives and make our own rules, without apology or explanation. Great post, Kate! Also love how you’ve formatted the different points in those boxes; I’ve no idea how you did it, but it looks really stylish =]
Hi Carol! I hope you’re doing well! As always, thank you so much for your comment! When I look around the people I used to know from my high school most of them got married and have already gotten divorced… So, I guess not being married it’s not so bad at all 😉. But seriously, we live in 2019 and everyone can and should live as they want. Besides when people are questioning your life decisions and choices in the majority of cases they are projecting their problem onto you. Maybe I’m wrong but it’s just how I see it. And the funny thing is that people always demand respect while most f them don’t respect others at all. That’s why it’s so important to create and protect your personal boundaries. Because at the end of the day we should feel good about ourselves! P.S. I edit my posts with Elementor) Take care and have a wonderful Sunday!😘😘
I couldn’t reply directly to your comment so I’ll leave another. I agree, a lot of it is projecting someone else’s problems on to you when someone is critical. This made me think of my brother, he’s often made me feel like a complete waste of space (totally ignoring my health problems, probably because he never thinks to ask how I am). Anyway, he always thinks other should be doing what he’s doing, and doing things he hasn’t done or didn’t do until later in his life (book club, gym, cycling to France, travelling, generally being an arse to everyone he meets, blah blah). He also demands a respect from others, and never expects anyone to call him out on how he acts, which is probably why we don’t always get on so well because I have. So yes, I’d agree, they want respect often without giving any to others. Wow, that was a little rant there! Thanks for the tip on Elementor, I’ll have to Google that as I don’t have a clue! 😉
Hope you’re having a lovely weekend,