Stop Explaining Yourself

Posted on June 4, 2016

Often this reliance on others for a validation creates a pattern of using a 3rd party as an excuse. “I can’t pick you up, because I promised Jess I’d babysit that night.” We create less-intolerable plans to avoid doing a dreaded favor for someone. I’d rather play with a baby than drive to the airport, so I guess this is okay.

When we explain (and explain and explain) what we need or want, why we’re doing what we’re doing, or how we plan on getting something done that we are perfectly capable of doing without talking it out first, we reinforce others’ and our own beliefs that validation come from external sources, that we are not to be trusted, that we must always wait for approval before acting on what we think is best. We keep teaching ourselves and others, “I’m not really okay until you tell me I’m okay.”

So here’s what I tell myself and other women (and sometimes, men and people of other genders): You don’t have to explain yourself. Practice just saying, No, or Yes, and stopping there. If you feel the word “because” formulate in your mouth, see what happens when you don’t say it. Or limit it to, “because that’s what I’ve decided.” (My mother used to end my and my siblings’ interminable “Whyyy?” with, Because I’m the mother, that’s why!).

If you’re in an environment that sees you as incompetent, questionable, or a person without the right to set your own limits, it can be hard to break the habit of seeking validation through explaining. But I encourage you to try. While the pushback might be strong at first, eventually people start to get it. And whether they do or not, you will grow a sense of yourself as trustworthy and competent. And that’s worth it.

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Category(s):Emotional Intelligence, Trust Issues

Source material from Psyched in San Francisco

Mental Health News