From debating with strangers on Facebook to arguing with family about political viewpoints, I bet you spend a whole lot of time and energy explaining yourself to others. No judgement, we all do it. I say it’s high time to knock it off! As Lori Deschene, author of Tiny Buddha, 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, getting into Tweet wars with total strangers- it adds up fast. Here’s the kicker, though: it never changes anything.
No one 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.
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, it’s also a great philosophy to adapt. People are always going to criticize you. Always. They’ll criticize how you look, 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 in 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. 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, detail 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 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 IAmJoe785 gets it? (Side note-I picked that username at random, so if you actually are Joe785, I swear, I’m not picking on you).
You get the point, though, right? As long as you’re true to yourself, 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, 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 attacks you for it, your “hackles” go up. Your first instinct is to defend yourself and “prove” your point.
You’ll dig up case studies, 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.
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!
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 concern, everything is fair game and open for judgement.
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?
Anyway, I’ll let you go with one last 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?