From debating with strangers on Facebook to arguing with your family about political viewpoints, I bet you spend a whole lot of time and energy explaining yourself to others. No judgment, we all do it. I say it’s high time to knock it off! As Lori Deschene said, “Learn to be okay with people not knowing your side of the story. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.” Read on to learn why explaining yourself is a waste of time and how to just let go of what others think of you.
Stop Wasting Time Explaining Yourself, You Have Nothing to Prove
Have you ever thought about how much time you waste trying to explain your side of the story or make people understand why you think the way you do? Really think about it for a moment. Reflect on all those hours spent debating “friends” on Facebook, arguing with Uncle Joe about political viewpoints, and getting into Tweet wars with total strangers- it adds up fast.
Here’s the kicker, though: it never changes anything.
No one ever (ever, ever, ever) walks away from a Facebook comment thread thinking “You know what? I can totally see Sally’s point of view now! She’s completely changed my mind!” That goes for everything from political views to whether strawberries are better than bananas. As a species, we’re all pretty stubborn and set in our way of thinking. No amount of explaining yourself will suddenly cause someone to “get it,” so why waste your time?
Shocking New Study Shows That I Don’t Give a Crap About People Who Criticize Me!
Since we talk so much about studies, here’s one for you! I saw a hilarious meme (yes, I know, I spend a lot of time looking at memes) that said, “A study done by myself reveals that I don’t give a [crap] about 100% of people who criticize me.” Well, she didn’t say “crap,” but this is a family-friendly blog. 😊 Finally, a totally accurate and indisputable study!
More than just a witty meme, though, it’s also a great philosophy to adapt. People are always going to criticize you. Always. They’ll criticize how you look, and what you wear. They’ll pick at your political views, your religion (or lack thereof), your eating habits, your parenting style…heck, they’ll even criticize your taste in music or your favorite fruit!
If there’s one thing our species has in common, it’s our intense need to judge everyone for everything all the time. We all do it, often without even thinking about it. I’m not going to lie, I totally judged someone’s choice of car colors yesterday. Let’s just say it was a color that made me think about indigestion. Here’s the thing, though; whoever owns that car owes me zero explanation about why they choose such an…intriguing…color. Zip, zero, zilch. Nada.
Be true to yourself and forget what others think
Of course, it’s not just car colors that don’t need explaining. As another example, I use home remedies whenever possible because I feel that’s what’s best for my family. Many would critique that, call me a quack at best, and things that aren’t appropriate for a family-friendly site at worst. I could waste my time explaining why I prefer natural approaches, detailing the thousands of years of anecdotal evidence behind my reasoning, and how I have nothing against modern medicine when it’s necessary.
Why should I, though? Why is it so important for a stranger (or even a friend) to understand my choices? I know why I do it. I know that I’ve done my research (and by that, I mean years of REAL research, not just a quick Google search and reading one article on a dubious website that backs up my preconceived ideas). I know that I made a decision based on logic. As far as I’m concerned, I’m doing what’s right for me and my family. Who cares if IAmaSnob785 gets it? (Side note-I picked that username at random, so if you actually are IAmaSnob785, I swear, I’m not picking on you).
You get the point, though, right? As long as you’re true to yourself and YOU know your reasons for how you feel, you have nothing to prove to anyone else. What you do and how you act is your business and you do your best without caring about what others think. Plain and simple, right? Of course, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Not only do the collective “we” love to judge, but we also seem hardwired to crave acceptance.
In fact, one major study found that rejection is actually bad for our health! That is precisely why we just plain have to stop caring what others think of us so much. So, how do you suddenly turn off millennia of psychological hard-wiring? Let’s discuss.
How to Stop Explaining Yourself & Learn to be Okay with People Not Getting Your Side
It’s hard to stop caring about what others think of you. If it was easy, critics would be out of a job! It’s not like you can just wake up one day and decide to stop explaining yourself or caring about what others think of you, right? Right??? Wrong. That’s exactly what we need to do. Just. Stop. Explaining.
It’ll be hard at first. Remember, you’re wired to crave acceptance. Start each morning by saying, “Today I will not let my critics silence me. I will not explain myself to anyone. I am my own person and I have a right to feel the way I do even if no one else understands it.”
Then, the next time you post a comment on your friend’s Facebook status and one of her other friends attack you for it, your “hackles” go up. Your first instinct is to defend yourself and “prove” your point. You’ll dig up case studies, and they’ll respond with contradictory studies (because there’s always a contradictory one). You’ll link to legit news articles, they’ll scream “fake news!”
You’ll say one thing, they’ll twist it and claim you said another. You’ll try to explain, they’ll throw a screenshot at you. Hours will go by. Days, even. Finally, your friend will say, “I never meant for this to happen” and delete the whole thread. You’ll feel bad, your friend will feel bad, and maybe even your friend’s friend will feel a tinge of guilt (probably not, though, as those types never feel guilty for starting fights).
Just walk away and don’t look back
Instead of putting yourself (and your poor friend who just wanted to say that she likes bananas) through all of that, just back away. It’s that easy. Just say your piece and let it be. If you really, really must respond, copy and paste these words (and keep them handy); “I know why I feel the way I do and that’s all that matters. I owe you no explanation.” Oh, and then tell them to have a nice day. People rearing for a fight absolutely despise when you do that. As the saying goes, kill them with kindness!
Don’t look back!
Then, be okay with that. Walk away. Don’t look back. Did you know that you can hide posts on Facebook? Learn to love that feature. You’ll feel a lot better! Accept that your side is just that- yours. Be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Those who accept you are worthy of your time. Those that don’t get it can go to…well, you know where they can go!
Bottom line, someone is always (always, always, always) going to find something about you to criticize. Always. Did I say always? From the color of your hair to the color of your skin. From your choice to wear pajamas to the bus stop to how often you let your kids watch TV. From which god you believe in (or don’t) to which candidate you voted for. As far as the world is concerned, everything is fair game and open to judgment.
Let them judge, just don’t give them the satisfaction of listening
Let them judge away, but just let their criticism fall on proverbial “deaf ears.” Does that make sense? In other words, don’t listen to them and, more importantly, don’t waste your energy explaining yourself to them. Imagine how much time it’ll free up! You could actually read War and Peace instead of living it! I have no idea what that book is about, I’ve never actually read it myself. Has anyone really?
Write your response, but don’t hit “enter”
If you’re having a hard time letting things go and you really feel like you need to say your piece, try this: Open up your notepad program or app and type out your response there. Go nuts. Call them names if you want. Let it all out. Spend an absurd amount of time on it.
Then delete it. Yep, delete it. Think about how much time you just wasted explaining yourself to someone who, honestly, doesn’t even care about your explanation. Then ask yourself if you really want to waste that much time rewriting the whole thing. If the answer is “yes,” do it all again. And again. And again, until it finally sinks in that you’re wasting an inordinate amount of time trying to appease someone who, in the grand scheme of things, is really just no one to you.
Stop explaining yourself to people who don’t matter to you
That sounds harsh, I know. Everyone matters in some way, and everyone is worthy of kindness & compassion. But as far as explaining yourself goes, IamaSnob785 truly doesn’t matter. You don’t know her and she doesn’t know you. The chances of you actually ever meeting her, let alone having to interact with her outside of Facebook, are so astronomical that they’re practically zero. So, honestly, who gives a rat’s behind if she likes your political viewpoints or agrees with your stance on butter versus margarine?
Why drive yourself nuts trying to make total strangers see your viewpoint, especially when you know deep down that they never will? Let me repeat this one more time for the people in the back: you will NEVER EVER EVER change someone’s mind just because you explained yourself and laid out a valid list of reasons for your feelings. They will ALWAYS find a way to pick it apart.
Be who you are and say what you feel!
On that last note, I’ll let you go with one final quote from the world’s greatest Dr (that would be Seuss). “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” A brilliant mind, that Seuss! No truer words, right?
WOW. Everyone must have taken your message to heart. I see NO comments. We all believe what we feel and are good with that! YAY!!
Yous all have a great day.
That is great advice when you’re talking about Facebook or any other friends. But what about when your family is constantly criticizing you to the point of hurting your feelings so bad and you can’t just tell most of them to go to hell? How do you get that out of your mind and heart and soul?
Creative Healthy Family says
As I grow older I learn to just stay quite and not let anyone hurt my feelings. It is hard but for me, it is really the best way to protect myself.
Ang Keegan says
Taking emotion out of life is sometimes extremely necessary for self preservation! Sad but true
Suzanne, yes it is sad and easy for me to say just ignore but it is not that easy to do. Just be calm and do not react even at once or for the 100th times they critisize you. Just practise this and see what happens 😉
Lisa Cypert says
It depends on what kind of situation you are dealing with and what topic it concerns. Things that don’t really matter, like your opinion about which sports team is better.. your favorite or your family member’s, you can just ignore it and not let it get to you. BUT…
If it’s something very important and significant in your life, the situation may call for stronger self-advocacy. For example, if it’s about your sexual orientation, your gender identity, or being Trans, religion, etc… you may have to decide whether playing it safe and not rocking the boat is the right thing to do for YOU. Sometimes you have to “calmly” confront a loved one about their inconsiderate and disrespectful behavior in order to be true to yourself and stand up for yourself. Assuming you are old enough to live away from this difficult person, if they don’t respond well, you may have to make an ultimatum. Either they love you enough to keep their critical opinions to themselves or you have to cut them out of your life. Two of my adult children have had to do this with an Aunt and an Uncle. It was hard but they are much happier now.
Sometimes, ignoring people’s bad behavior is doable and keeps the peace. I do this with a number of family members. But not all of us can handle that.
I sincerely hope you were able to work things out. I’m 2 years too late in seeing this, it seems.
I really really needed to read this right now. Thank you! I try SO HARD to not let comments from a family member upset me, but I find myself regurgitating it over and over. I stew on it for days, sometimes weeks!! What for? Why? Why do I give her so much power over me? Why does her opinion of me matter more than my own?? Why do her lies about me upset me so much, after all, I know the truth! It doesn’t matter, but how do I program my brain to believe me??
Quite literally, the term “philosophy” means, “love of wisdom.” In a broad sense, philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other.
Lisa Cypert says
I agree with your definition of philosophy. I love philosophy personally.
Lisa Cypert says
I really needed this advice. I have been considering starting my own blog, about politics, religion, and my own personal philosophy. I am generally non-confrontational, but obviously if I am going to blog about these topics, many won’t like my opinions. I have wondered if I can emotionally handle the haters. At the same time, this project is very important to me. Obviously, I will have to skim comments to make sure they are appropriate to remain on my site, once it’s built. But I will have to remember what you said about ignoring judgemental comments and that I don’t have to explain myself.
Thank you for sharing this with us! This was my first visit to your blog and it was very helpful.