You Don’t Owe Anyone These 20 Things

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It’s no secret that many people just take and take and take. People are often not shy about trying to coerce or convince you into sacrificing pieces of yourself for them.

Understanding these pieces will help you build better boundaries so you can do what is right for you.

With that in mind, you don’t owe anyone these 20 things…

1. Your time.

Time is the most precious commodity in the world. You can always make more money, pursue new things, or add on to your life. What you can’t do is acquire more time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You decide how you spend your time and attention, no one else.

2. Your energy.

There are people out there commonly referred to as “emotional” or “psychic” vampires. These are people who are emotionally draining to be around. They may complain all the time, want your constant reassurance, or use you as their personal therapist. Protect your mental and emotional energy.

3. Your justification.

No means no. No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain or justify yourself. However, like most things, this comes with a caveat. This is common advice that may not necessarily apply in healthy relationships. In healthy relationships, communication is paramount.

4. Your boundaries.

Everyone is entitled to their boundaries and space. You don’t owe anyone your physical, mental, or emotional intimacy. You are allowed to say, “No, this isn’t right for me.” Again, this does not require justification or explanation to anyone.

5. Your secrets.

You are entitled to privacy for your life, decisions, and actions. No one has the right to force or manipulate you into divulging sensitive information that you don’t want out there, because it’s probably not going to stay private for long. Most people don’t handle secrets well.

6. Your forgiveness.

Forgiveness is given to close a negative chapter in one’s life. There are many people who will want you to say “I’m sorry” so they can feel alright with the negative thing that they’ve done. They don’t actually care about you forgiving them. They care about you making them feel better.

7. Your trust.

Trust is earned, not given. However, it’s also important to understand that trust isn’t an all or nothing thing. How can someone earn your trust if you don’t trust them with some small things to see how they handle it? You don’t owe them trust, but you do have to extend some if you want to build relationships.

8. Your respect.

Some people completely misinterpret the phrase “demanding respect.” As in, they literally demand respect regardless of how you feel about it. Everyone has the right to be treated respectfully and fairly. Not everyone deserves a personal level of respect where you think highly of them.

9. Your identity.

Many people struggle with their identity in a society that wants them to conform. The issue is that society doesn’t consider or care for the individual. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. The most common way to hammer that nail is through questioning why you are different. You don’t owe anyone answers.

10. Your opinions.

Not everyone wants to make their opinion known. There used to be an old saying that one should not discuss politics, religion, or money in polite company. Why? Because these are fundamental differences that people feel passionately about. It’s your right to keep your opinions to yourself.

11. Your help.

In a perfect world, we could all ask for and offer respectful help. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Providing help may be enabling or get you taken advantage of. You have the right to not offer help to anyone who demands or asks for help.

12. Your validation.

There are some people who will fish for your validation so they can be okay with their own choices—no matter how bad those choices might be. It is not your responsibility to validate anyone’s behavior. It is also not your responsibility to enable their bad behavior by validating it.

13. Your obedience.

You have the right to ask questions of people who make demands or commands. In fact, some people are wired to do the exact opposite of what someone says as a way to rebel and protest against such behavior. You don’t need to go that far. You can question it and decide whether or not you want to do it.

14. Your resources.

Your money, possessions, and resources are yours. You don’t owe anyone anything when they start asking you for those things. Furthermore, giving people those things can ruin relationships when expectations are unmet. If you’re going to give anyone anything, it’s best to do it without expecting to get something back.

15. Your agreement.

You aren’t required to agree with someone to keep the peace. Furthermore, someone who genuinely values you and your opinions isn’t going to argue about it either way. They will want to hear why you disagree and come to a compromise if there is a compromise to be had. If not, they should be able to just say no and everything is fine.

16. Your emotions.

You feel how you feel and that’s alright. Anyone you’re close to should respect that because they will care about how you feel. That doesn’t mean that someone won’t ask. They may not understand why you feel how you feel. However, you have the right to say that you don’t want to talk about it.

17. Your happiness.

Some people use happy people as a means to boost themselves. This is different from being an emotional vampire in that your happy presence is used to boost their mood. That can be obnoxious when you’re not feeling happy and they insist you just pivot to happy even if you’re having a bad time.

18. Your relationships.

People vibe with who they vibe with. Not everyone will vibe together, and not everyone will understand why you vibe together. Sure, you can explain it if you want to, if you want to talk up the person you vibe with, but you don’t have to. Really, it’s better not to if the questioner is just going to try to use that information to harm either of you.

19. Your appearance.

You may have a style that doesn’t vibe with what is socially acceptable. As we’ve established, society cares more about conformity to the whole rather than honoring the individual. If you have a certain style, vibe, or way you want to appear, that is your choice to make and no one has the right to question it.

20. Your story.

Your personal history, experiences, and trauma are your choice to share. Similarly, this includes therapy. Sometimes, a family member or relationship partner will expect you to divulge these sensitive matters because they believe you’re supposed to be able to tell your family or partner anything. The issue is that many people can’t handle that level of responsibility. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t want to share these things.

About The Author

Jack Nollan is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspectives from the side of the mental health consumer. Jack has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.