The Desperate Man (self portrait) by Gustave Courbet
“If other people do not understand our behavior—so what? Their request that we must only do what they understand is an attempt to dictate to us. If this is being “asocial” or “irrational” in their eyes, so be it. Mostly they resent our freedom and our courage to be ourselves. We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to “explain,” which usually implies that the explanation be “understood,” i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.” ― Erich Fromm, The Art of Being
So what, indeed. Unfortunately it is not as simple as it is.
Humans love complications and so we create them as often as we can, which is regularly with lots of relish. Then we bitch about them, because we love to complain. Complaining makes us feel something… is it a feeling of being important? I don’t know…
What I do know is that I loathe explaining myself to others – The Desperate Man by Gustave Courbet expresses perfectly how I feel when someone asks me to explain myself to them, especially when that explanation won’t explain anything at all. It’s a waste of my time, time which I could be using to understand something or someone or myself.
Someone recently made themselves very unwelcome in my life by asking me for the umpteenth time to explain myself to them. It was the final straw. What I realised about them from their demand was that they didn’t give a shit about me, understanding me or even bothering to know anything about me, because if they did give a shit they wouldn’t need the explanation.
I don’t play hide and seek with who I am. My words and my actions are in sync, most of the time. I know myself fairly well and usually give people a heads up about my behaviour and such.
All this person had to do was observe and listen and all those other things you do when you actually want to know someone.
But the truth is that they were not interested in me and did not care to understand me at all. They were using me as a mirror, projecting themselves onto me and then asking me to explain them to themselves. No thank you. That system does not work. Been there, done that, made that mistake over and over again, and I’m done with it.
People who do that are not really interested in understanding themselves either. They just want some ego strokes and stuff like that which is a pit of bottomless need that is never satisfied and never filled as it is always empty.
People who are so far up their own ass that you have to crawl up their colon to reach them… I’d rather not. If I’m exploring anyone’s colon, it will be my own. I have enough shit of my own not to need anyone else’s.
And frankly… I don’t need to be understood by anyone other than myself. It’s a pleasure when someone does understand me, but it is not a necessity. If you get me, then you get me and thank you. If you don’t get me… move on, there are so many people in this world, so many you will get, stick with them. Perhaps they’ll get you too and you’ll live happily ever after.
Except…. why is explanation not spelled explaination? Does it matter? I don’t know…