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Three Reasons You Should Stop Explaining Yourself

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Photo by DJ-Dwayne [Returning in 2015/16]

Unless you’ve committed a crime, or have a set of duties you are paid to do, there is no reason you need to be explaining yourself to anyone. And yet, many of us do this all the time. We do it almost unconsciously. We want others to like our ideas, validate our accomplishments, and assure us that we are on the right path. Sadly, many of us also base our self-worth on measurements as futile as how many friends like our posts on Facebook. And what does it lead to? Probably not a lot of happiness, and even worse, we probably like ourselves a little less too.


So here are three reasons you should stop explaining yourself.


You are basing your self-worth on others’ evaluations. Trying to convince others that what you are doing is worthy is like trying to recruit a cheering squad. Your actions don’t need a pep rally. What they need is YOU. Your conviction that what you are doing has merit to you. You have to be your own cheering squad, advocate, coach, and even slave driver. And yes, when you think you are not good enough, or that you didn’t do a good job, you have to look within to find reasons as to why you should keep going, why what you do matters, and why you matter. Because you may never convince others that what you are doing or even who you are is good enough. But you don’t need to. You only need to convince yourself.


You are losing trust in yourself. When you explain to someone why you are doing something and you don’t get the reaction you are hoping for, you are going to start questioning it yourself. You are going to wonder if perhaps their objections and criticism have merit. And just like the air being let out of a balloon, you are going to feel deflated. Why? Because you forgot that undertaking anything worthwhile requires confidence in yourself. Ultimately you – and only you — have to believe it’s possible. What is doesn’t require is others’ confidence in you. After all, more than one person told Diana Nyad that swimming from Cuba to Florida simply wasn’t possible. What she showed all of us is that it didn’t matter.


You are losing focus. Every time you spend energy trying to convince someone that what you are doing is a good idea, you are focusing one on thing only: convincing them. Who you are not convincing is yourself. Because instead of searching within yourself for the reasons for what you are doing, you are searching others’ faces for a hoped for reaction. What matters is why you are doing what you do. The real purpose behind your actions, and just what you are hoping to accomplish by doing the things you do. What doesn’t matter, is whether or not others think what you do is right or good. After all, you are the one doing the things you do, and you are the one living your life.




More information on building confidence, mental strength and turning life’s setbacks into springboards, can be found in my new book, LEVERAGE: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards.

Three Reasons You Should Stop Explaining Yourself

Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Claire Dorotik-Nana LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in post-traumatic growth, leveraging adversity, and other epic human achievements. Claire has written multiple continuing education courses for Professional Development Resources, Zur Institute, and International Sport Science Association. Claire has also authored multiple books, including:
Leverage: The Science of Turning Setbacks into Springboards and On The Back Of A Horse: Harnessing The Healing Power Of The Human-Equine Bond. For more information about Leveraging Adversity or Claire, visit

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APA Reference
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2015). Three Reasons You Should Stop Explaining Yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Apr 2015
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