7 minutes read

10 things we don’t have to do at all

Often we think we need to do certain things without questioning at all whether this really is the case. Here are 10 things that we can safely do without.

1.Justifying yourself

When we justify ourselves, we try to explain an action that is, in our opinion, correct. We shouldn’t do this. Think about it: how do you feel when you justify yourself? How does the other person see you? Why do you believe that you owe the other person an explanation or even an excuse in the first place? Just leave it at that. Stick to facts and cut out afterthoughts that start with “because”, “since” or “but”.

2. Apologising

When we apologise, the situation is often similar. On the one hand, apologies are important in order to straighten things out again with the other person after disputes, arguments or misunderstandings. But we don’t have to apologise at all costs. Only do it when you mean it.

3. Forgiving and forgetting

How often have we already heard and read: “forgiving is liberating.” Forgiving makes us better people – not necessarily for the others, but for ourselves. That’s what’s written in companions anyhow. Those who forgive will be happy. This may be true sometimes. However, some situations are so bad that you end up asking yourself: “How on Earth am I ever to forgive this?” Instead of struggling with companions that offer fluffy instructions on how better to succeed in forgiving more or less severe hurts and offences, just don’t bother with the torment. You’re entitled to say: “I will never forgive you!”, put an end to it and take appropriate steps. In this way, you’ll often be leading a more honest life.

4. Having a good relationship with parents and the whole family

In any therapeutic process the family background plays an important role. How much did your father and mother love you, what messages did they give you to take along? It’s perfectly normal that not everything has been straightened out. Indeed it’s part of adult life to accept the past, to dissociate yourself from your parents and to say: “This is your cross, this is mine. We all have our own to bear.”

On the other hand, however, we cannot choose our family. Sometimes, the influence of parents or other family members can severely block the sense of selfhood in adults. Often, severe cases of overstepping the mark have occurred or still occur frequently, and even the utmost efforts won’t necessarily lead to any changes. Time and time again, you’re confronted with your parents’ or other family members’ lack of insight. And then, yes: then we are allowed to and have to break off contact with parents or relatives. Without feeling bad about it.

5. Putting others first

Yes, it’s important to be there for others. We shouldn’t all mutate into egocentric pigs, stopping at nothing in order to push through our advantage. Everything has its limits after all. There is a reason why a healthy sense of egoism can do so a lot of good though. It’s a fact that human beings come and go, but that the relationship with yourself is everlasting. That’s why it’s time to put yourself first. From this perspective, it’s still possible to show consideration for others…

6. Self-love

Everywhere it’s forced on us: “Just love yourself the way you are, and everything will be fine.” But is that really always so easy, and do we really have to love ourselves unconditionally with every fibre? Or are we allowed to have certain features that we don’t like at all? Yes we are, and that’s a good thing. Because self-love is not the key to all-embracing happiness. Indeed, it’s not that easy to realise it, as mentioned earlier. So it’s ok not to love yourself unconditionally, always and everywhere. Plus: others are also required to play their part in contributing to a functioning sense of togetherness.

7. Losing weight

Summer is approaching – have you already attained your bikini figure after a nourishing winter with all those recipes and sweet gifts? Do you already fit into the scheme of things? Do you already satisfy expectations? If not, congratulations! You’ve done the right thing.

Diets actually only make sense when health requires them. Or when, deep down, we feel uncomfortable with our weight. And this not because of stick-thin models in catalogues presenting us with the latest bikini fashion framing their abs. These ladies are models and being thin is part of their job. But not every person in this world is a model after all. Besides, pleasure-loving people are usually those with whom one can have more fun anyway. And that’s what counts in life, doesn’t it?

8. Making a career

It’s really incredible what women (and men too!) accomplish these days. They are top-qualified, toil away their lives in stressful jobs for companies that don’t even belong to them, while also juggling kids, household and relationship, and looking extremely attractive at the same time. They have to because looks are, after all, part of every success story – right?

No, wrong. It’s a complete fail. Those people scrape by avoiding a nervous breakdown every day and continue to say to themselves: “Who cares – that’s life!” Supposedly, there are some cases of even single parents handling those mad tasks with great effort, and climbing higher and higher up the career ladder. It’s clear that this leaves you no time for yourself – but why have time for yourself to spend on leisure, fun and happiness? Well, I can tell you why: because it’s your life, and you only have this one.

9. Being reasonable

Reason is somehow comparable to how a strict mother would treat a small child. If you follow reason, you won’t exactly feel happy, but you will feel this slap on the back inside you: “Bravo, well done! You may indeed have decided against joy, but nothing can happen to you now. That’s how it should be, that’s how it should always be.” Not a bit of it. By all means give reason the cold shoulder every once in a while and don’t allow it always to be in charge of your decisions. The best things sometimes emerge from something entirely unreasonable.

10. Being uncomplicated

Men like uncomplicated women, that’s what it says in companions with titles like, “How to find your long-lasting partner” or “How to make him fall in love with you”. This is how prototypes of the “cool woman” are created who, always with a confident smile on their faces, read every wish in the eyes of her freedom-loving men, allowing them, without ever complaining, to do at any time as they wish, with or without them. The man should not feel imprisoned or forced into any sort of commitment which, in a relationship, can be compared with “getting involved”, “assuming responsibility” or “caring for others”. That’s what the cool, uncomplicated woman is like.

Books like these make women like me frown. It’s such rubbish that’s being sold between the covers. First of all, it’s all the same whatever “men want” because it’s simply impossible, without putting yourself last, to be all things to men who are never pleased by a woman. And secondly, experience has already proved the opposite. That is, relationships only get interesting once the rough edges appear. For both sides actually.

Whether man or woman, we really don’t have to fit in or twist ourselves just to avoid getting on other people’s nerves. No, we should and must stand up for ourselves. For everything that is important, and near and dear to us. This may turn out to be often rather unpleasant for others. Who cares? It’s not our problem.

Bottom line:

Every day we encounter statements and rules about what we should and shouldn’t do in order to be “good people”. Often, they are also firmly established in our minds as so-called “dogmas”. Once we become aware of how many things we don’t have to do, we realise that life suddenly turns colourful and light. Just give it a try!


Fotocredit: iStock/SIphotography

Updated on: 7. November 2017
Self-esteem - Susanne Prosser