Life Skills: You Don’t Have to Explain Certain Things

You don’t have to stop and explain everything. Just get on with things. Not everyone is going to understand you. Most of the people who don’t will not even try. In this context, explaining yourself can be one big waste of time. When you realize you don’t have to explain certain things, this breakthrough moment can actually bring you more: positive energy, communication skills, effective leadership and, ultimately, greater life skills which lead to higher levels of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

You don’t have to explain yourself because people will judge you regardless. An explanation has a very small chance of influencing their opinions. Feeling you have to explain yourself can really be a request for their consent from your subconscious mind. Don’t bother. If you really can’t choose what to do without someone else’s approval, the concern is yours, not theirs. Positive energy alternative: Be aware of your need for external approval and work on self-confidence.

You don’t have to explain your feelings. They’re yours to feel and learn from. Tiny Buddha points out there are only two real options when we think we need to self-justify:

  • Constantly explain ourselves to preserve how we’d like to be seen, even though we can’t actually control that.
  • Focus instead on feeling and learning from our emotions, since that’s something within our power.

Life skills center around self-awareness. Positive energy alternative: give up trying to control what other people think, and try to accept yourself instead.

You don’t have to explain why you’re taking time off.  Suzanne Lucas, in U.S. News’ column On Careers, says, “Now if your management is taking this to a different level and only approving time off that they agree with, then you’ve got a problem.” Otherwise, keeping things general is sufficient. Effective leadership in an organization shouldn’t really care if you’re exercising an entitlement. Positive energy alternative: Demonstrate that things will run smoothly in your absence. Use good communication skills to keep team members in the loop as it pertains to your responsibilities.

You don’t have to explain why you’ve unfriended or blocked someone on social media. If you’ve never or even rarely interacted with them in this channel, you’ve got to examine what your reasons might be for bothering to explain, since they’re unlikely to notice you’ve stopped following them. If your “explanation” is disapproving or critical, it isn’t going to promote any sort of understanding or bilateral dialogue. A final negative message isn’t about good communication skills or even life skills. It’s really just a scolding without giving the other person an opportunity to respond. Positive energy alternative: Just do it and spare everyone the drama.

You don’t have to explain your career choices if you’re financially self-reliant.  We all have our own plans and ideas about what we want to achieve and how we’re going to get there. Naysayers can often derail perfectly viable objectives. Positive energy alternative: Go ahead with good plans and objectives. If reactions distress you, be judicious about what you share.

You don’t have to explain to people who don’t get it. Well-meaning parents and friends often project their own values and regrets when responding to your news and ideas. When they do that, it’s about their life skills, not yours. Good communication skills aren’t based upon the obligation to make people understand. Positive energy alternative: Be happy with your choices. This will diminish confusion in others when they see you navigating through life in a successful fashion.

You don’t have to explain why you’re not responding. At One With Now, Manal reminds us that we have the right to respond, but not the obligation. Expressing your opinion is only valuable if it serves the purpose of moving things forward. Responding to people who are hostile or passive aggressive just perpetuates the negative energy.  Positive energy alternative: Make sure you’re dignifying things you deem appropriate with your response.

You don’t have to explain. Period. Positive energy alternative: In your heart of hearts, you know what to do. Do it.

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  1. says

    Hi Betsy,

    This reminds me of the story of the lady who invented Spanx. She was recently interviewed on Anderson Cooper and mentioned how she kept the idea to herself, not necessarily because she thought someone would steal the idea, but she didn’t want to be talked out of it. Now her business is worth over a billion.

    I love those success stories. 🙂
    Barbara Swafford has an awesome blog post here: Make Up Your Own MindMy Profile

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Barbara – Perfect example! For every great idea there are always the naysayers. Fortunately, most of them wind up stuck right where they are and we can leave them in the dust. Thanks.

  2. says

    Fabulous post, Betsy!

    I’ve often caught myself feeling the need to explain things. But you’re right: “Feeling you have to explain yourself can really be a request for their consent from your subconscious mind.”

    “Just do it and spare everyone the drama.” Wise words. Plus, it spares you from your own drama too. Just think of how much you can get done if you’re not always explaining. This post has me all revved up 🙂
    Davina Haisell has an awesome blog post here: It’s all right, grammatically speakingMy Profile

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Davina – This one has been percolating with me for a while. Some people, unfortunately, can’t get out of their own drama’s way – so I used a couple of recent experiences as inspiration here. 🙂 Glad you liked it!

  3. says

    Hi Betsy .. great post – and so often people just sink into doing nothing, because of what others think …

    Be happy with our choices – makes life so much simpler all round …

    I love Barbara’s and Davina’s additional comments .. gosh people can make life so complicated sometimes .. but then working life does – explanations and reasons for everything .. justification, write it down – crumbs I’m so glad I’m no longer in it .. the little I have to do can is enough! But I count my blessings too .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary has an awesome blog post here: Mothering Sunday – the Hilaria festivals of the Vernal Equinox to honour CybeleMy Profile

  4. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Hilary – does it all go back to caring too much what others think? Or are we assigning ourselves a higher priority with them than we deserve? 😉 Sometimes they are just not that into us, yet we build ourselves up anyway. Thanks.

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Holly – Welcome to PassingThru! Yes, you’re right, in certain situations an explanation can make things worse. Certainly more awkward, to be sure. Thank you.

        • Betsy Wuebker says

          Hi Barbara – It’s true, right? In sales I learned that ourself is the most important person to us. That blasted ego again! Thanks.

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Antoinette – Welcome to PassingThru! I agree. Self-definition can be just as inaccurate as the impressions others have. Thank you.

    • Betsy Wuebker says

      Hi Corinne – Welcome to PassingThru! Isn’t that the truth! It can be very liberating. Thank you.

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    Corinne Decker has an awesome blog post here: click hereMy Profile