You don’t come barreling into this world wearing a warning sign. There is no shiny label people can run their fingers over, double-checking that everything about you will agree with them. No manual. No owner’s guide. You simply come into the world.
But damn, wouldn’t it be easier if we could hand people study sheets? Here’s a comprehensive list of who I am! The quirks! The flaws! The things I’m terribly insecure about! If only someone could read a chapter and suddenly know you completely.
We want people to know us and understand everything, even though that’s not something anyone can guarantee. It’s a pretty loft order when we often struggle to even know ourselves. So, we start to explain. We defend actions with whatever logic we can pull out. We tell stories of our childhood, pinpoint moments that must have made us this way. We can’t shake this need to make sure others know there is a rhyme and reason to why we do the things we do. That it isn’t all just a frivolous mess. You want to explain yourself.
But you don’t owe this world an explanation for who you are. You don’t owe an explanation for how you got here. And you damn sure don’t owe an explanation for who you are becoming. Your purpose in life isn’t to get someone you barely know to understand your eccentricities. Your purpose is to find internal love, give external love, to be hurt, rise above it. Your purpose in life, frankly, is to find your way through it. Sometimes, the journey is beautiful. And sometimes, it is about just getting through this part.
This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for your behavior, or that you should run around like an asshole shouting, “I’M NOT OBLIGATED TO TELL YOU WHY I’M TERRIBLE! LALALA!” (Also, why would you do that?) You aren’t immune from consequences. And aiming to be a kind, generous human being is obviously very important.
But you don’t owe people explanations for who you are. You could spend a lifetime trying to describe all the pieces that make you up. Why you smile at that certain song. Or how you always laugh at that one lame commercial. You can like what you like. You can do the things you enjoy. Why feel the need to throw in “guilty pleasure” disclaimers? Why are we so consumed with how others perceive us? Why aren’t we as concerned with how often we are honoring our authentic selves?
We aren’t solitary creatures. We live in a society, it’s built into the word — others are there too. But they don’t have the blueprint to your success, your happiness, your sadness, your anything else. Sometimes, it’s okay to just take a breath and say, “This is who I am. That’s okay. And I don’t have to explain it.”