Have you ever thought about how many people live their lives following someone else’s rules, explaining and justifying their decisions and actions to people who have nothing to do with their personal affairs? Have you ever thought that you might be among those people?
“What I was trying to do was…”
“No, no, what I meant was…”
“I actually wanted to…”
“Just let me explain….”
You will never be able to please everyone. Stop wasting all this energy to do so. The only people worth explaining yourself to are your friends and family. But if they are as close to you as you think, they probably get you, sometimes better than you get yourself.
So if you need to give someone an explanation, go ahead. But if you only do it because you feel obliged to, you’d better cut it off. Especially when it comes to:
1. Your priorities.
We are all different people with different dreams, values and purposes, and it is absolutely normal that we have different priorities, too. Remember that you have the right to decide what is important in your life and put it on top of your list. No explanations needed. It is up to you what you do with your time and who you spend it with. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not fitting into one’s expectations about what you should be putting first.
2. An apology when you are not sorry
An apology without regret is like a car without an engine – it will take you nowhere. Many people apologize just in order to end the argument but isn’t worth anything. When it’s not coming from the inside of your soul, the “sorry thing” is useless because what you seem to be sorry for will either happen again or nothing will change at all. If you think you were right, do not apologize.
3. Agreement with something you disagree with
Listen, pay attention, analyze but don’t let someone else’s voice sound louder in your head than your own inner voice. Speak your mind. Get rid of the heaviness that is provoked by unspoken disagreement. You don’t have always to say “yes”, especially when you want to say “no” (sounds logical but in real life situations logic is not a must, is it?). People who have mastered the art of refusal tend to be happier because they more rarely have to do something they don’t feel like doing.
4. The way you live
You are single, divorced, live with your parents, change your roommates often, look like you are homeless when you go to the store for a snack. And so what? If you are happy with the way it is, let it be. You prefer to live with no marriage? Okay, this doesn’t make you less reliable nor does it question your values. Don’t go on justifying your actions to each and every person who would comment on them. People have to not only stop being so judgmental, but also to stop letting others’ opinion influence their choices.
5. The need of time only for yourself
The fear of being taken for antisocial, selfish, overweening is something most of us have felt at some point in our lives. And this is totally normal. We are designed to live in a society, in a group, and the process of socialization is very important for each and every individual. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot spend time by yourself. Just the opposite. Everyone needs to sit alone with their own thoughts or simply with their own company. You don’t have to apologize for choosing a good book, or some good music and yourself instead of going out, for example. If you do need this, enjoy it with no regrets.
6. Your appearance
Fat or skinny, short or tall, blond or redhead? You can pierce your tooth if you want and this would be your business only because your body belongs only to you. If you dislike something about the way you look, put effort into changing it, not into explaining it to others. Luckily, today there is such a mixture of styles and cultures all over the world that people hardly ever get surprised by others’ crazy appearances. Of course, there will always be those small-minded individuals with their harsh comments and low self-esteem. Just remember that they matter just as much as a sponge does.
7. Your political, religious or sexual preferences
You have the right to have your own opinion in every area. Your attitude towards religion, politics or sex are things that concern you and yourself. Having different beliefs than the conventional ones doesn’t make you defected. You have the right to decide which political party you support, who you pray to, what you do in your bedroom just as much as you can choose between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It’s a part of your individuality and this is the only explanation needed.
8. Your choice of relationships
You are dating a guy that is not exactly Mr. Handsome but you find all those things that make you happy in him. Or you are in love with a woman that is older than you, and earns more but you complete each other and make a great team. Yes, some people tend to miss out on the details. They spot the scandalous part of the story first and are always ready to judge. You can try to put your picture in someone else’s frame, but it most probably won’t fit. And then what – would you throw it away or would you enjoy the image without the frame?
As a conclusion, I would like to make one thing clear. Living for other people’s approval is like not living at all. Learning to live for yourself is hard and might take some years until you achieve some progress. The tricky part is separating the confidence of being the captain of your life from the arrogance of begging no pardon. As Chris Jami says: “There are two circumstances that lead to arrogance: one is when you’re wrong and you can’t face it; the other is when you’re right and nobody else can face it.” Make sure you avoid those circumstances while working for your happiness.
Iage by Ant Jackson