Jackie Walker

Creating a learning space for me, for you and for them

Let Go of the Need to Explain

with 5 comments

What is it that drives us to explain ourselves to other people all the time?  The minute you stop explaining you can get on with doing and being what it is that you choose.

kite over ocean

By all means elicit opinions and ideas, brainstorm and get feedback, but stop explaining yourself.  If someone asks you the reason you are doing something, find out what the information is going to give them – that throws the ball back in their court.  You can then choose to respond or not.  Most likely you will by this time have ascertained what the underlying reason for the question was and not what you presumed it might be!

Are you explaining yourself because you felt guilty that you didn’t do it sufficiently well?  Is it because someone might disapprove?  Is it to make an excuse?

Before you make a decision think what the consequences could be.  Weigh it up and then choose and own what you’ve chosen.

I’ve got a very close friend who I used to go shopping with.  In the changing rooms as we tried on all sorts of different items of clothing, she’d be saying things like

  • ‘Oh that’s perfect, it’ll go with your (and name half a dozen items in my wardrobe)’
  • ‘You can wear that at the dinner party, the office, and even to walk the dog (she did have a vivid imagination!)’
  • That colour goes with red, orange, yellow, purple, green, blue, tangerine, white, black and navy – it’s a must! (Colour blind too)

Justification was not what I needed or wanted, if I was going to buy something then I would buy it without having to have a string of reasons excuses to do so.

dessertmenupicYou hear it when the sweet menu comes out at the restaurant too –

  • Oh I only had a salad at lunch
  • I’ll skip lunch all next week
  • I’ve been good all week

For heaven’s sake, either eat it or don’t … you’re the only one who can hold yourself accountable to a decision you’ve made.

When you let go of the need to explain you will find that your head stops being filled with all those noisy voices shouting ‘what if” at you.  The peace is measurable – give it a go today and tomorrow and then let me know how you got on!


Written by Jackie Walker

July 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

5 Responses

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  1. i find myself really put off people who explain themselves in everything they do. i had a college lecturer who’d have to qualify everything he said with something anecdotal or just a reminder that he was a proffesional musicans for x years and that he just knows this stuff. at least wait until someone challenges you, otherwise it just looks like you don’t find yourself believable which is a terrible place to be in if you’re a teacher with a bunch of unruly teenage music students!


    July 20, 2009 at 5:59 pm

  2. Pretty ironic isn’t it. “if I was going to buy something then I would buy it without having to have a string of reasons excuses to do so.”

    That right there is a justification. Everyone does it. Don’t act so cool. I’ve noticed that the people who don’t explain themselves usually can’t elaborate anyway. You see it as some sort of flaw. I think it’s endearing. Our inner thoughts are our soul and true personality. People that share them are open. I’ve met many cynics that think I’m trying to impress them. Joke’s on them. I’d rather be surrounded by people who share themselves with me than someone who internalizes all of their self doubt and hides their insecurities. You’re judgmental. We’re just honest.

    To Periferite,

    What if someone just taught and you had no idea where they were coming from? Why would you listen? At least if someone told me of their qualifications, I would appreciate what they had to say more.


    August 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    • ‘our inner thoughts are our soul and personality’ I’ve never heard of a soul singing or jumping for joy with insecurity or self doubt, have you? Personality, in my view, is different again and we can choose to make changes which will help us align more with our soul’s purpose.

      I believe the answer lies with what a person does with their insecurity or doubt once they are aware of it. Be open and honest sure, but why hang onto excuses if they aren’t getting you the result you want?

      Jackie Walker

      August 3, 2009 at 2:06 am

  3. We can’t change all of our insecurities. Some folks are just short (metaphorically speaking). A degree of self doubt shows humility which is far more appealing than over confidence.

    Since when is soul just about joy? Soul is also pain, sadness, love and doubt (not a complete list).

    I agree that making excuses (on a regular basis) is detrimental, but I don’t see it as synonymous with explaining yourself. When your friend told you that a certain piece of clothing would go nicely with other pieces, she wasn’t making excuses for you to buy it. She was probably just being supportive and although you may have been irritated; I think you should appreciate support whenever it is offered. Sure, most days I don’t need it, but on those days that I do (and we all do have those days), it is invaluable.

    I have a problem with the following statement:
    “Before you make a decision think what the consequences could be. Weigh it up and then choose and own what you’ve chosen.”

    Sometimes (no matter how much forethought we may have put into something), we make terrible mistakes. I’m not talking about an ugly dress either. You can’t “own” hurting people (accidentally or otherwise). We are all deeply flawed creatures and I think it is important to always be aware of that (it will protect you from seriously damaging your ego and others’).

    BTW, thanks for corresponding with me on your blog. I was just moseying around when I stumbled upon it and I enjoyed reading it (there I go again, speaking in parentheticals and explaining myself.)


    August 3, 2009 at 4:00 am

    • Hi T – thank you again, I love when folk challenge what I say – it’s crucial to my learning and it helps others too. I feel that this response deserves a blog entry of it’s own to address the various aspects you’ve raised :

      soul v ego
      owning hurting others
      deeply flawed creatures
      appreciating support

      Stay tuned and keep your comment coming!

      Jackie Walker

      August 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

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