Today did not start off well. I was already stressed from an outside situation, and began a conversation with my wife that in reality, should never have taken place at that particular time.
Yeah – stop laughing, any of you out there who are married and have done the same thing with YOUR spouse. You know where this is going.
Predictably, it didn’t go well, and resulted in (a) my being even more stressed and (b) a sincere apology from me to my wife for being a knucklehead. (Or, as I said to her, “I knew better but did it anyway. You couldn’t have said anything right then that wouldn’t have sounded wrong to me.” Hey, it happens. I have feet of clay, you know? Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the fact that my wife doesn’t take a blunt object to me, sometimes? 😉 ) However, after she left for work, I sat and ran over it in my mind with an attitude of “What went wrong?” and I realized that an old enemy had sneaked back into the picture – one that I thought I had vanquished and sent screaming off, wailing on his way to rotting Hell long ago – Mr. “Let Me Explain!” (cue dramatic music)
…well, that sounded bloodthirsty, didn’t it? I’ve been reading the original Conan the Barbarian novels, and I think it rubbed off a bit. I digress.
The conversation had gone downhill because, to me, she had not “understood” where I was coming from and so I began to try and explain. The more I tried to explain, the more muddled it got. The more muddled it got, the more frustrated I got, and the harder I tried. The vicious circle came around and bit me square on the backside, and HARD.
It was then that I ran across this post, dealing with that very subject, which I now link here: http://www.theminimalists.com/explain/ What grabbed me, in particular, in that post were these two ideas:
1.The people who require an explanation probably won’t understand you, anyway. You can’t control what they think. (Emphasis mine)
2. The people who are close to you, important to you and understand you don’t need an explanation because they already get you – because you are enough.
It ended with a very freeing statement – “If you want to explain yourself, go ahead. It’s ok to do so. Just don’t feel obligated to. You don’t have to waste your time.”
Strangely enough, the more I looked into the subject, the more I found those same ideas expressed, time and time again. It hit home with me, mainly because I had dealt with this in the past, and then had gotten lazy and started doing it again. Friends, none of us, unless we are in a court of law, MUST give an explanation for our actions. (Though I would offer this caveat – if you’re dealing with your spouse, a law enforcement officer or your boss and they have a legitimate reason for asking, I’d do it. I’m not advocating arrogance, here.) The fact that someone doesn’t understand you, or what you do, or why you do it does not obligate you to MAKE them understand, or even try, for in fact you cannot do so. It goes back to not being able to control what others think. If they understand, then fine. If they don’t, then fine. Each of us is different. We are all on different journeys in life and, as such, there will always be things that we truly cannot understand about others, nor can they about us.
AND THAT’S ALL RIGHT.
The Boot of Truth? You are not obligated to explain things to others, nor to make them understand. Be who you are. If you, like me, realize that you have a need/desire/want to always explain, always try and make sure others understand – take heart in the fact that you don’t have to, and let this be the first step. Do the research, do the checking, and free yourself. It may be painful, and you may lose people who aren’t willing to accept you as someone who sets a boundary and says, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t make you understand,” but in the end it will be worth it.
YOU are enough!
God bless today, my friends!