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Don’t Explain Yourself, You Don’t Need to

Most self-explanations come from a guilt standpoint, whether you realise that or not. Did you do something wrong? And if you did, do you feel guilty? Was it ill-intentioned, or was it an honest mistake? Did you hear your gut advising something yet chose to ignore it? We’ve all been there. You needn’t worry.

Explaining yourself when you shouldn’t (and let me break it to you: most of the time, you shouldn’t) is a sign of weak character, which invites other people to attack you. Part of human nature is to victimise the victims. Not everybody will jump to attack you; we are all civilised, aren’t we? But at the bare minimum, people will feel the impulse, though they restrain it.

This is not to say post-mortem analysis is not needed at the workplace. There’s a clear-cut difference between explaining yourself, uttering excuses and providing an objective exposure of facts for a specific situation, gathering evidence and presenting it in an organised manner for further analysis of the parties involved in seeking a solution. It’s just not the same level of conversation.

Also, don’t confuse explaining yourself with apologising. If you’ve made a mistake or wronged someone, feel it in your heart and apologise. Nobody is perfect; we all make mistakes. The most valuable apology is the action of fixing whatever you broke. Making things right, truly heartfelt, goes far beyond just empty words.

What is infuriating about explanations, in general, is that excuses are timewasters. Most people don’t need the excuse; they need the facts. They need the disposition to seek a solution. It’s painful to be on either side of the explanation; when you tell your explanation, you feel shame; when you hear the explanation, you know you’re wasting your time in the worst way possible. You don’t enjoy explanations unless you’re some tiny, entitled emperor who feels expectations weren’t met. Good Lord, for your mental sanity, let go of expectations.

This also applies when I lend money to any of my friends; I am genuinely willing to help, but I do not want to hear what the money is for; all I want to know is when you’ll pay me back and be done with it. So long as it’s returned and everything remains under the veil of the law, I don’t care. A WhatsApp voice note made of solid eight minutes explaining what the money is for is not worth my time; it’s not even worth the money being lent out. “How much?”, “When will you pay it back?”, “Agree to 10% interest or no deal?” are some of the few questions I ask.

I’m not asking you to have excessive pride or borderline arrogance. All I’m asking you is to understand that we’ve all been there most of the time, and you don’t need to feel guilty for being a human being. Do your best you’re able today and write off anything you couldn’t. It doesn’t matter, does it?

Keep it up, champ. Until next time,

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