When you get to the end of the day and you feel utterly exhausted by the interactions you had with others the chances are you’ve been giving your power away.
Obviously, this can happen in a variety of ways but I’m going to get real specific here about one particular thing people do to give away their power.
It’s called justifying yourself! So what is justification, why do we do it and what can be done about it?
Justification is when we offer (or don’t) an explanation of our choices for a variety of reasons. The key here is that explaining is the way you’ve been giving away your power.
It’s not always a negative thing either as the need to explain our lives away can be motivated by fear, guilt, or even self-doubt and it can also be an honoring or ourselves and others.
The subconscious need to justify ourselves to others or have them justify themselves to us most likely has it’s root in our childhood where we are rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad behavior.
It makes sense then that when you are justifying yourself to another when there is no need you have become the child in that relationship and they the parent. This is obviously not healthy for either of you as it is toxic in nature and opens the door for blame and resentment.
Think about it in reverse. When was the last time you asked or expected someone to justify themselves to you? What was going on for you at the time? Perhaps you were frustrated or upset about something the other did or didn’t do and you were subconsciously looking to them to make you feel better about yourself?
Giving away your power by explaining your decisions and actions to others keeps you stuck in the belief that you are not okay at some level. This limiting belief then continues to attract people into your life that will happily take your power away from you.
This pattern is all too familiar in intimate relationships and is a sure-fired recipe to kill any chance for love if left unchecked. The most obvious example of this is the control freak who constantly wants you to explain yourself so that he or she feels like they are in charge.
What’s The Payoff In Justifying Yourself?
Here’s some of the main ways we benefit from justifying ourselves:
- We’re trying to ease our own feeling of guilt
- We’re trying to control the other persons response
- We’re insecure about our own choices and want the other person to validate our decision.
- We want to stay hidden so that others see us in a way that keeps the peace
- We are defending against feeling badly about ourselves by trying to convince others what we did was the best we could do
- We want to have a closer, more open connection with the other person
As you can see from the last point, it’s not always going to be giving away your power if you choose to explain your decisions to someone. It depends on the intention behind it and how unapologetic you can be towards yourself. The way I look at it is that it’s none of my business what others think about me unless I make it so.
I used to put a lot of energy into explaining my decisions and actions. Sometimes, they were an honest attempt to seek to be understood but often they were a result of my own self-doubt and innate desire for people to approve of me.
Since then, I wised up. Once I started to accept myself and take full responsibility for my choices that’s when all my relationships changed for the better. I started to catch myself starting to explain my choices to someone and would notice if it was necessary or not.
Over time I discovered effective ways to communicate with others that didn’t involve giving my power away. This was a big learning curve for me as it wasn’t easy at first but now after many years it’s become second nature.
The first rule of not giving away you power is that no-one is responsible for how you think and feel except you. Sure, others can say and do things that upset you but you are the one that is choosing to receive their words and energy in a negative way.
Life is neither positive or negative these traits are decided by the way you look at things. Someone can look at snow and be deliriously happy while others can look at it and be annoyed. The snow stays the same but what people think and feel about it depends on whose looking.
This is such an important thing to consider in today’s world as everything is moving so quickly that very few people are slowing down enough to look at themselves first before lashing out at others.
That’s why learning how to stop giving your power away to others is needed now more than ever and it starts with you learning five simple strategies to master what I call the power of non-justification.
5 Ways To Stop Justifying Yourself
Here are my top five tips on how you can stop giving away your power through non-justification.
1. Drop these words
Words have power and can even be a source of giving away your power if you allow it. There are three words you can drop from your vocabulary immediately that will help you to stop justifying yourself to others. The words are; ‘just’, ‘but’, and ‘because’. The next time you find yourself being asked to explain yourself try doing so without using these words.
2. I chose it
There are plenty of other words you can use that help you to keep your power. Words like; ‘I chose to’ or ‘I chose not to’; ‘I like it or I don’t like it’; and ‘I want to’ or I don’t want to’ are just a few examples of words you can use to take your life and power back.
3. Yes & No
By far the two most powerful words we can use are yes and no. Say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Nothing else is needed. The moment you start to explain why you have said yes or no then you start to sell yourself out.
4. Use short statements of fact
There’s nothing wrong with giving a reason why you did or didn’t do something as long as you keep it short and factual. Once you start going into a lengthy explanation that there’s no need for that’s when it becomes dis-empowering.
5. Ask Questions
This strategy tends to be a last resort when someone is quite persistent about you needing to explain yourself. It’s more a deflection tactic that puts the question back on them as to why they need you to justify yourself to them.
Here’s an example:
You: “I was just offered a new job that I recently applied for!”
Them: “I see… are you going to take it?”
You: “Yes, I am!”
Them: “Well, I didn’t know you wanted that job, why didn’t you tell me!?”
This is where you are now being asked to justify your decision. You are under no obligation to answer this unless you want to. I’d either make a short statement of fact such as; “Well, I’m telling you now!”
Or, put it back on them and ask them a question like:
“Why does it matter if I told you or not?”
Whenever someone is asking you to make them feel better about an uncomfortable thought or feeling they are having and you reinforce this game with them then it’s a lose-lose scenario. You lose because you empower the belief that you have to justify yourself to be okay and they lose because they don’t get to look at themselves.
We can only control how we show up when relating to others. How others react or respond to that has nothing to do with us.
What you can do is to pay attention to what is happening in your mind and body. Are you anxious, tense, or worried about the other persons feelings? Or, perhaps you are feeling resentful but unable to express your anger? If so, then before you say anything take a moment to give yourself space to think and breathe before you say or do anything.
It may feel awkward at first, especially if you are used to rescuing people from their own feelings, yet it may also feel exhilarating too. Explaining may have been the way that you were giving your power away in the past but that does not mean that your future has to be the same.
Thanks for taking the time to invest in your expansion in this part of your life. You now have some simple strategies to stop justifying yourself so that you can reclaim your personal power and integrity.
There really are NO LIMITS to what you can be, do or have except for any self-imposed ones.
I’m insanely committed to helping people to live the life they were meant to live. Whats in the way is whatever limiting beliefs and habits that are holding you back mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
That’s why every now and then I run a 5-Week Group Coaching Program called ‘Boundless Energy‘ which is specifically designed to redefine whats possible in your relationships, career and the quality of your life.
Each week dives deep into an area of your life that gives you the FREEDOM to create a life of your choosing and make a significant impact during your time on this earth. If you’d like to know more about this then Click Here or go to https://www.michaelatma.com/boundless-energy to see when I’ll be offering this program again.
This is just a sample of how I love to help people to step into their greatness. Make sure to let me know how you go practicing non-justification in your everyday life by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or joining me on Facebook at: Meditation Dojo
Author, Transformation Coach & Speaker