I used to have this incessant need to be understood, liked and approved of.
Yeah, good luck with that one, right?!
I had always based who I was on how I was seen. This was a really bad emotional roller coaster—always explaining myself, why I felt or thought a certain way. I needed the other person to get what I was saying, but if—God forbid—they thought I was wrong, I felt like crap. I explained whatever I felt insecure about. The list was endless. It’s comical now.
Through the years, I’ve explained why: my house was messy, I hadn’t lost the baby weight, I didn’t use cloth diapers, we were vegetarians, I didn’t run, I had a home birth, I had an epidural, I parented a certain way, and many other things that I can’t even remember.
I had a hard time knowing that everyone wasn’t going to agree with me.
It wasn’t until I decided to change the way I thought about myself, that the explaining disease started go away.
I remember years ago, I was the room parent for my son’s class. I asked one mom to bring in the craft. She said, “Oh no I don’t do crafts.” And that was it. She said it matter-of-factly. No explanation. Her energy was very clear. I was blown away. You can just say that!
Here I was trying to be supermom at times. I’ll never forget that. I realized that to be a woman, you set your own boundaries and you truly teach people how to treat you. My mom used to say a woman should be assertive in business and not aggressive. But you cannot be assertive if you feel people won’t like you or approve of you if you say no.
Back then, if I was invited somewhere and I couldn’t go, I’d over explain and wound up sounding like it was a lie. You can just say, “We can’t make it.” Or “We already have a prior commitment.” Another is “That’s not going to work for us.” When you say, “We already have plans, but have a great time,” you don’t have to explain what your plans are. It’s your life and you can choose what you do in your free time. A life lived out of obligation leads down the road to misery.
Recently, I’ve noticed that I no longer feel the need to explain my love for myself.
I think every single person should love themselves.
It wasn’t until two years ago that I really truly loved myself, flaws and all. It’s a choice I made. Others may see me as full of myself, egotistical, conceited or narcissistic. But the funny part is, they never know what’s in my heart. I think I’m beautiful and think everyone should feel the same about themselves.
As a teen, I hated the way I looked. And now as a mother of a teenage daughter, I want to be an example of a confident, loving woman. You’ll never hear me say, “I’m prettier than her,” “Look at how fat she is,” “She’s so ugly,” or anything like that about another woman. I don’t do competition. I don’t think that I’m more beautiful than anyone. I think I’m the most beautiful me. I look for beauty in everyone.
True self-love comes from our spirit, not our ego. If someone sees it as ego, that’s their filter and maybe they don’t feel that good about themselves, so it hits a nerve. On the flip side, someone can seem like a humble, modest, spiritual person, when in their heart there’s judgment, anger and negativity, which is ego-driven. People are not for me to judge, nor is it their job to judge me. If they do, I still don’t need to explain myself.
If you feel you explain yourself often, look at all the time and energy you expend in doing that.
It can be very draining. I have four kids and I explain lots of things to them about life in order to help and guide them to have the best life. I delight in this, this fills me up.
You’ll feel the difference in explaining something for the sake of sharing information or your point of view. There’s no attachment to how you’re perceived in this way, versus the draining feeling of explaining yourself to everyone about everything. You can look within and ask yourself, “Why do I feel like I always have to explain myself?”
It’s okay to be awesome too, and we don’t have to explain why we have nice things or why good things happened for us in order to make someone else feel better.
Be yourself, live your truth, and there’s no need to explain.
Jenny G. Perry is the author of The Jennifers, a spunky married mother of four beautiful kids, who has a passion for life that she infuses in her work. She’s happily resides at the Jersey Shore. She loves to blog about her life’s journey in a fun and spiritual way. Calling herself a silly-sassy-spiritual-sexpot, she aims to uplift and inspire daily on her Facebook page at facebook.com/peacelovejoysparkles. Her website is: jennygperry.com.
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger