How to Stop Explaining Yourself

How to Stop Explaining Yourself

Why We Feel the Need to Constantly Explain Ourselves

Many of us have an innate desire to be understood by others. We want people to see our intentions and thought processes behind our words and actions. However, over-explaining ourselves can come from a place of insecurity, seeking constant validation rather than acting from our own inner truth.

The Drawbacks of Over-Explaining

Over-explaining takes up valuable time and energy. It can also inadvertently give our power away to others to judge us. People may start expecting us to explain ourselves, rather than respecting our right to privacy. In addition, we may fail to set healthy boundaries if we feel obliged to account for ourselves.

Cultivating Self-Trust

The antidote is developing inner self-trust. This means building a compassionate relationship with ourselves where we can act from a place of integrity, alignment and care, rather than fear or doubt. We have less need to explain ourselves if we know we are doing our best.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries around what we share, and with whom. We all need safe spaces where we can be ourselves without pressure to explain or justify. Learning to say “no” without guilt or over-explaining can be liberating.

Responding With Compassion

If people ask us to explain ourselves, we can respond with compassion rather than defensiveness. We could say e.g. “I would prefer not to explain that, but I’m happy to discuss something else”. This maintains self-respect without conflict.

Focusing on Connection

Rather than over-explaining, we can focus more on connecting with people through vulnerability, listening without judgment, and seeking shared understanding. This fosters trust and positive relationships.


Why do people over-explain themselves?

Common reasons are seeking validation from others, lacking self-trust, trying to avoid conflict or judgment, and difficulty setting healthy boundaries.

What are the risks?

Risks include diminished self-respect, time-wasting, not developing self-trust, expecting validation from others, and struggling to set boundaries.

How to cultivate self-trust?

Ways to cultivate self-trust include self-compassion practices like journaling, meditation and positive self-talk. Living according to your values also builds self-trust.

Should we keep things private?

It’s healthy to keep some things private, set boundaries with others, and have safe spaces to be yourself. But some mutual vulnerability helps build connections.

How to respond compassionately?

Respond respectfully and calmly. Avoid defensiveness. You could say you prefer not to explain or that you hope they understand your choice. Refocus the conversation on common ground.