We all make choices in our lives that we feel define us. Unfortunately, many of these choices are subject to prying questions and unwarranted commentary. Sometimes we feel pressured to defend ourselves when those opinions don’t align. These are four things that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for:
The principles you live by and what you value deeply.
People may find your principles or morals illogical, and that’s okay. We are all different. We live in a world with various political and religious beliefs. If this is a strong part of your identity, you can choose to divulge as much or as little as you wish. We come from different backgrounds and cultures. We won’t all agree on how to raise children or what we expect from a relationship. You don’t need to change your values or explain them to anyone else.
The pain you feel.
The pain you feel is real. You don’t need anyone to validate your feelings or confirm you’re not being overdramatic. Acknowledge your feelings and know that emotional pain is just as real as physical pain. Psychologist Guy Winch, Ph.D., says, “Physical pain usually leaves few echoes while emotional pain leaves numerous reminders, associations, and triggers that reactivate our pain when we encounter them.” So whether you are in pain over a breakup that people told you to rejoice about or failing to get a promotion at work despite your best efforts, know that you are allowed to feel that way and no one needs a breakdown as to why.
For moving on from a relationship.
Perhaps you’ve recently ended a relationship or a long-term friendship. Maybe you left a job you have had for years because you felt disrespected by your boss. Sudden decisions can come with inconsiderate questions and feelings of judgment from others. At the end of the day, the person you need to respect the most is yourself. If you were pushed to the point of making the decision to move on then know you had good reasons to do so.
For saying no without an apology.
Many women can feel pressure from men to form a relationship. If a man asks you for your phone number, you don’t have to give it to him. You also don’t need to agree to a date or taking things to the next level if you aren’t interested. According to psychologist Kathryn Lively, Ph.D., most women have a difficult time saying no, especially if they think someone’s feelings may be at stake or if they think they’ll not be liked. Lively suggests telling them you’re not interested with certainty and then you’re done. You don’t owe anyone more than that and certainly not an apology.
Disclaimer: The insights in the article are in part the opinions of this writer.