Stress-free life: Avoid trying to explain yourself constantly

Image credit: Radim Spitzer

Dear blog family,
I have recently added a new category titled ‘Self-care and Self-love’ on the blog. Since we have been discussing success and inspiration for years, I thought we should now include a section that focuses on us and how we pay attention to ourselves.

In my work as a mentor and coach, I come across several people who struggle under the weight of how they have been “painted” by others. This blog post is for you…

Nobody should ever try to tell you that you are something that you know you are not.

Be weary of people who paint a misconstrued picture of you.

Then try to convince you that that’s really who you are.

They refuse to budge when you attempt to explain yourself.

Then seek to punish or shame you for being who they think/say that you are.

If you are not careful, you may find yourself working hard to “explain yourself”, and to please them so that they can see that you are not such a “bad person”. This can result in stress and anxiety.

You see, they now have you locked into an unhealthy cycle that does nothing but frustrate you and cause you pain. They have found a trigger… all they need to do is push it, and you start to beg for understanding.

You don’t feel good about yourself in their presence and when you interact with them.

To be Stress-free, remember this…

How they paint, perceive or judge you, is not really about you. It’s about them. *People like to project their fears, inner voids and insecurities on others.* Reasoning with such people is like throwing water on a duck’s back. Because their minds have been made up. Their views can only change if they allow themselves to grow – a process that you have no control over.

For example: somebody may perceive that you are rude – when actually they are supersensitive/intimidated; a person may expect you to dedicate more of your time and resources to them, but is never satisfied because of their sense of entitlement; a person may expect you to dress and show up a certain way, cussing you out or ridiculing you for wanting to be yourself; others are threatened by a woman’s determination and strength of character because of their religious/patriarchal programming… etc, etc.

You deserve better. You deserve to be you.

The only way you can bow out of the psychological stress that is being inflicted on you is by:

  1. Understanding who you are and being OK with it.
  2. Not allowing yourself to be punished by another.

Know who you are!

There are many facets to our personalities and more than one dimension to us as human beings…. all these nooks and crannies of who we are. This leads to complexities in certain relationships. However, mature individuals have no problem allowing others room to be themselves.

As we grow older and wiser, we become more sensitive to different personalities, how we are affected by them and especially how they react to us. So we start to seek a deeper understanding of those we come in contact with, especially those that we are closely attached to us as friends, family members, work associates and life partners. We become more observant…

“When we observe people around us, one of the first things that strikes us is how different people are from one another. Some people are very talkative while others are very quiet. Some are active whereas others are couch potatoes. Some worry a lot, others almost never seem anxious.” (Edward Diener, Richard E. Lucas, and Jorden A. Cummings, Personality Traits)

You see, becoming observant leads to understanding. But here’s the catch, not only should we be observant of other people, we also need to develop in awareness of ourselves, recognizing that we (and others) have a right to our personalities and temperaments. This leads to stress-free living. Life flows more easily.

When we are respectful of ours and others’ individuality, we find it easier to recognize unhealthy ties and to let go of the anxiety they cause us.

I encourage you to gauge yourself constantly and make an effort to grow as you see fit. However, do not subject yourself to misery because somebody expects you to fill a cup that never seems to get full.

Cheers to a stress-free living!

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