You are visibly anxious before a reviewing meeting, but you don’t want your colleague to think you’re neurotic—so you tell her about everything that’s riding on a positive outcome.
You feel subdued at a party, but you don’t want your friends to think you’re antisocial—so you tell them you have a lot on your mind.
You feel worn out after a stressful day at work, but you don’t want your friend/flat mate or partner to think you are a negative person—so you tell them it is unlike you to let things get to you this way.
We often feel the need to justify our feelings, like everyone outside is watching and forming judgments.
The truth is they often are. We all watch other people—it’s hard not to; they surround us. And we all judge other people on occasion and it is often a reflection of how harshly we judge ourselves.
Knowing these things are inevitable, we’re left with two options:
1. Constantly explain ourselves to preserve how we would like to be seen, even though we cannot actually control that.
2. Focus instead on feeling and learning from our emotions, since that is something within our power.
Instead of pretending you feel fine and then explaining why it may seem otherwise, why not let yourself feel your emotions so you can discover what you need to do to move past them.
Instead of explaining why you don’t seem perfect, let yourself be human without apologies. We’re all imperfect; why hide it?
Sometimes it makes sense to explain yourself—when someone misunderstands, or when you hurt someone accidentally. But most often the only person who needs an explanation is you so you can ascertain, accept, and work through whatever is on your mind.
Today if you are tempted to justify your emotions, remember: You can’t control what other people think. But if you can accept yourself in this moment, you may discover what you need to do to feel better, instead of just trying to look better.
Remember to look after you!
The Girl Who Writes