10 Things You Absolutely Should Never Justify To Others

Neel Raman
6 min readSep 7, 2018

One of our greatest gifts is that we’re all different and have the ability to choose what’s best for us.

As we are responsible for creating the life we want, the choices we make has an effect on the people in our lives. Sometimes our choices can cause others to be angry, disappointed or let down. They may even try and make us feel guilty about the choices we have made.

If others try to make us feel guilty, we may end up trying to justify why we’ve made the choices we have.

There are some situations which require us to explain the reasons for our decisions. For example, someone in a business may have to justify some of their decisions. Most times, there shouldn’t be a need for us to justify our choices and preferences.

things you should never defend

Over the years, one thing I have become comfortable with is declining social events. In the past, I felt obligated to attend such events because I thought I would be judged, ridiculed or excluded from future events.

I have since learned that what others think of me is none of my business. I am who I am and will always choose my priorities over obligation or expectation without any guilt.

Here are ten things we shouldn’t have to justify to others so that we can continue making the best choices for ourselves. Once we’re comfortable with our choices, other people’s opinion of us will really not matter anymore.

1. For saying no. The more we say no, the more likely we will upset or disappoint someone. The truth is it shouldn’t be our concern. If we continue to say yes to others, we’re really saying no to ourselves each time. When we say no to others, we’re declaring we are clear about what are priorities are and are committed to carrying them out.

2. For choosing yourself first. When our needs are adequately met, that’s when we’re in a better position to serve others and perform at a higher level. While it may come across as being selfish, we should always remember that our needs are just as important as anyone else’s needs.

3. For not engaging in meaningless conversations. If we observe the conversations around us, it is fair to say that most of them are not inspiring, outcome-focused or interesting. People tend to default to conversations like the weather, the traffic, or even whine and complain about things. The best thing we can do in such situations is to disengage from the conversation or if possible, walk away from it.

4. For investing in yourself. It is common for people to buy things without thinking too much about it. When it comes to investing in ourselves, through books, educational programs or live learning events, it is not as common.

It has been predicted that less than 3% of the population will actively engage in their own development and not surprisingly, those 3% of people are the ones who are more successful than the rest of the population. We should never justify wanting to get better.

5. For failing over and over again. We must have a worthy goal, mission or purpose in life. When we’re clear about what it is and are committed to it, we ought to give it all we’ve got. That may result in challenges and heartaches and cause us to fail. But if it is important to us, we should continue to go after it, fully knowing that we will continue to have challenges.

6. For being yourself. We’re unique individuals and should never have to apologise for who we are. If our behaviours are unacceptable for situations we find ourselves in, then yes, we need to take responsibility for changing our behaviours. If we’re being authentic, then it’s for others to decide whether they want to connect with us or not.

7. For forgiving someone. It can difficult to forgive someone especially if they have caused us a lot of pain, stress or grief. Hanging onto emotions of anger and resentment is never a good thing over the long term. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to let go of emotions that are not serving us.

Sometimes others may not understand why we are choosing to forgive someone especially if they were affected as well. But if we feel it is in our best interest to do so, then we shouldn’t have to justify our choice to others.

8. For doing the work required to achieve what you want. The law of sacrifice states that in order to receive something of a higher nature, we must be willing to let go of something of a lower nature. We all have dreams and we must never apologise for working hard toward our dreams. In order to get new results, we must put in the work necessary to achieve it.

9. For letting things go that don’t matter. If we’re focused on what we want, it can be easy to decide what’s important and what we should give our attention to. Things that aren’t aligned with our highest value work can be avoided without any guilt and it is something we are not obliged to explain to others.

10. For wanting to stay hungry and foolish. This idea was made popular by the late Steve Jobs, during a commencement speech he gave at Stanford University. He had lived his life by the motto, Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish and wished the same for others. It takes courage to pursue the things we love and it is something we must never have to justify to others.

If we’re constantly justifying our choices and actions to others, it takes us away from creating the experiences we really want. That will result in us merely existing rather than living a full, joyous life. The more we can be true to ourselves, the better our life experiences will be.

Action Step: From the list above, choose the one thing you can stop defending or justifying this week. Once you’re comfortable with that, choose another thing until you’ve covered everything on the list.

Question: What is something you have stopped justifying and how has it helped you?

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Neel Raman

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