What others assume about you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. People create misconceptions about others based on how they live and present themselves to the world. Many of these assumptions are bias and just flat out wrong.
I can not tell you how many times I’ve found myself having to explain who I am to others due to their ignorance. Ignorance is not acceptable under any circumstances and it is up to us to put people in their place when they question us on things that are offensive and simply none of their business.
I have come up with a list of five things that you should never have to explain to anyone. There is a difference between effective communication and just plain old ignorance. The first thing that you should never have to explain is:
How someone is suppose to treat you:
This is a common issue in many relationships between friends and lovers. When someone is doing something to you that is unacceptable, simply telling them that their behavior is unacceptable should be enough. When someone wants to debate with you about how you should be treated, that means that they don’t value you. Some people, especially women, believe in training a man and feel bad for men who weren’t taught to treat a woman right but like K. Michelle said, “You can’t raise a man.” The same thing goes for men who are dating women who are taking advantage of them. You shouldn’t have to explain to a woman why what she is doing is wrong. You should never have to explain to someone how they are suppose to treat you, period.
What you do for a living:
Now I know this one may be a shocker but, it is very true. Everyone has their own lives and it is hard enough having the world judge you on every aspect of your life. Sometimes we end up working jobs that we did not plan on working. In some cases we are working jobs that we actually want to work that others may disapprove of. For example many families put you on a pedestal if you become a doctor or a lawyer. Before I decided to pursue journalism I wanted to be a lawyer. I excelled in law club and mock trials as a kid. I even competed in county competitions and went to a camp for law, but as I got old I lost that desire. I looked at the cost of law school and changed my mind really quick. At least as a journalist I wouldn’t have to spend as much money on college to do something that I am passionate about. I barely want to pay back the loans that I have now. Why would I go to law school to empress people who aren’t helping me pay my tuition. People can become so invested in your career path. When anyone questions you about why you choose to follow a specific path, simply ask them if they are going to put in the work that is necessary for you to go in the path that they believe is right. If they aren’t helping you pay your bills or tuition then their opinion doesn’t matter.
Now this is one of the most obvious questions that people ask about that you should not have to explain. As obvious as this one is, people still do it. Most people start off by asking what are you? Asking this question is not just offensive but it is annoying. What makes it worst is that people like to ask this question to validate what they believe about you anyways. If someone believes that you are something and you tell them that you aren’t, they either respond in shock or they feel obligated to tell you who they think you are. One time I got into an argument in high school because a student thought that I looked Caribbean and didn’t believe that I wasn’t. He even went as far as telling me that I don’t know who I am. This was one of the most ignorant arguments that I have ever had in my life. People must learn how to see people as human beings and stop obsessing over color and ethnicity so much. Let people be free in the skin that they are in and never feel like you have to explain who you are in the skin that you are in.
Your mistakes in the past:
This is another common issue that people love to question others on. Many people have a bad habit of holding people’s past over their heads. You see this play out in the media and in our everyday lives. We all make mistakes and no one’s mistakes is worst that the next person. People often point fingers at other people’s flaws and mistakes to feel better about themselves. You see this in slut-shaming were woman shame other women for having more sexual partners than them or showing off their bodies. This is wrong because, it is basically saying that even though we are both doing the same thing, the way I am doing it is the right way to do it. We need to stop holding people’s past against them and we must also stop explaining our past mistakes to others. If a person can’t look past who you use to be and accept the person you have become then they do not deserve an explanation. No one is perfect so learn from your mistakes and move on in peace.
Now this one is a tough one because I use to judge others based on their appearance. I would think to myself, maybe that person would be more appealing if they fixed this or fixed that, but I learned that I was absolutely wrong. There is a difference between not taking care of yourself and having your own style. When you have a look that you are comfortable with and feel like your best self with then embrace it and don’t explain that for no one. For example, I like the way I look when I am not the skinniest. When I am too skinny I don’t like the way certain clothes look on me but some people in my family think that I look better skinny. So now I joke around and tell them I am working on gaining weight when they ask me when I am going to the gym. I am still healthy so that is all that matters to me. If you are comfortable in your skin then embrace that and don’t answer to anyone who feel different. The world is not just black and white. We are all different and unique in our own way so embrace that.
Now that I have explained the five things that you should never have to explain, I hope that you can use this to live in peace and let the hater do what they please. You can’t change what people say and feel about you but you can change how you respond to them.