How many things in your day do you do because you feel you should? Well, honestly, the word “should” should be eliminated from our vocabulary. The things we “should” do take us away from the things that matter, the things we must do to live our best and happiest life. Add to that the word “owe.” You don’t owe certain things to others.

When we stop doing things because we feel we should and start defining the boundaries around what will add value to our lives, we can get on with living our lives.

The biggest thing we need to stop doing is explaining our decisions to others in hopes of their support. We should be confident enough that someone else’s opinion doesn’t matter.

In fact, we all judge even when we try our hardest not to. That occurs because we watch people, form opinions, and make assumptions based entirely on their observations. So it’s no surprise that we assume other people are judging us. Knowing judgment is happening all around us; we must explain ourselves to make sure people see us as we want to be seen constantly.

Fine is not always really fine

“Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” – Elbert Hubbard

How often have you pretended to feel fine and tried to convince someone of this fact even though it is clear you don’t feel fine at all? We’ve all done it. Instead of faking fine, try being real without apologizing or explaining. Give yourself the freedom to … Just. Be. Human. Everyone has imperfections, why bother to hide it?

Explaining takes your power and gives it to the other person. The best decisions come when we listen to our feelings and gut instinct. But those sources aren’t usually well received in an explanation, so we make up an explanation the other person can relate to.

Unfortunately, many of us need to explain even though we know we shouldn’t. An explainer is waiting for someone else’s approval, and there is a lot of wasted energy in the waiting. During this waiting period, doubt creeps in; depression begins to expand, and unhappiness takes root. Waiting is wasted time.

When we explain, we move away from our greatest source of wisdom – our inner guide. We stop honoring ourselves and start placing more importance on the other person.

It’s hard to overcome the tendency to explain, but it can be done with focus and intention. Awareness is the key.

To help you become more aware, here are 20 things you don’t owe anyone an explanation for.


  1. Justification for your values and your priorities.
  2. A yes when you want to say no.
  3. An explanation for your relationships, whether lovers or friends.
  4. Assistance with their happiness journey at the cost of your own.
  5. A debate around your political views, especially when the other person’s mind is made up.
  6. An apology when you are not sorry, and you would make the same decision again.
  7. A rationalization about why investing in yourself is important
  8. The meaning of what you believe in.
  9. A change in your appearance to please them.
  10. Friendship, especially when they do not share your values.
  11. A negative mindset so that you can commiserate with them.
  12. The access granted to information about your life that makes you uncomfortable
  13. Gossip material or unkind comments about other people just to fit in.
  14. Your time for their projects or for things that matter to them unless they matter to you too.
  15. The commitment to try something “new” just because you were asked.
  16. A safe place for constant complaining and dwelling in their poor choices.
  17. An answer other than the truth to prevent them from being uncomfortable.
  18. Your services as a crisis counselor unless you are actually a crisis counselor.
  19. False or undeserved compliments to make them feel better.
  20. Anything that doesn’t make you feel good and goes against your gut instinct.

Just remember this when you’re unsure if you owe someone:

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” – Wayne Dyer

and then remember this:

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove.”  – Maya Angelou

The next time you are tempted to justify something, remember that you can’t control what other people think. You can only control what you think and how you feel. If you are confident with your decisions then an explanation isn’t really necessary.