I used to find it stressful to receive unsolicited advice, especially when I didn’t agree with the advice being offered (which often seems to be the case). I felt that I had to explain my point of view and justify my decisions.
One day, I mentioned this to a dear friend, who shrugged and said, “When that happens, I just say ‘thank you’ and go ahead and do whatever I want to do.”
This is such a simple idea, but it was revolutionary for me. And it works so well. It’s polite but doesn’t invite further discussion, so it’s easy for the conversation to change course from there. You may genuinely thank them for their interest, but you don’t have to change your plans or even discuss them.
Some people enjoy a good debate and arguing their point of view. If so, great. That’s not me. Either way, you don’t have to explain yourself if you don’t want to. You can decide.
Guess what? I’m not required to justify every plan and decision I make to other people. I’m not, and neither are you. Others may think or expect we’ll behave differently and that’s okay. If you don’t want to explain your thinking or make a case for your decision, it’s not required.
Of course, there are times you need to have the difficult conversations and try to help someone else understand your point of view. Let’s say you’ve decided you don’t want to have children. You might want to have a conversation with your partner about that. Or if you plan to take a business project in a new direction, you might want to talk it over with your boss.
But your Aunt Gladys who thinks you should change your diet because of some article she read? Nope.
Or your friend Fred who thinks you should have stayed at the bank job after you’ve joined the circus? Just tell Fred “thank you” and carry on with your trapeze act.
Frankly, your decisions are really none of their business. Don’t make their opinions your problem. If you don’t want to explain or justify your decisions, you don’t have to. This is, after all, your one beautiful life. You’ll need your time and energy for living it. Simply say, “thank you” and move along with whatever it is you want to do.