325 | You Don’t Owe Anyone

In 2015 Caroline Garnet McGraw’s wrote an article for the Huffington Post. It was called “You Don’t Owe Anyone an Interaction”.

It soon went viral. And by the end of the year she had delivered a TEDx talk of the same name.

Wind the clock on five years, and I have just finished chatting with Caroline about THE BOOK! Yes, it’s now a book!

Perfectly described as a memoir meets personal (personal) development, You Don’t Owe Anyone, speaks into a common experience. The belief that we must submit to the plethora of expectations. From the world around us. And from within.

The book is a practical call to be free from the weight of expectations. Since the initial article, there is something about this idea that has always resonated with people.

You Don't Owe Anyone an Interaction (Podcast)

The story started when Caroline received some emails that made her feel uncomfortable. Her intuitive reaction was one of alarm. But then feelings of guilt, insecurity, and obligation kicked in. She was conflicted, tethered to the belief that she needed to respond. In talking it over with her husband, he declared the catalytic words which fuelled the article, the talk, and now the book…

“You don’t owe anyone an interaction.”

So many of us are drowning under the weight of expectations. Not just the demands from other people, but the expectations we place on ourselves. The need to respond to everything, to do it perfectly, and to keep people happy. Things that don’t truly belong to us. This comes at a cost to our health, our important relationships, and our engagement with the things that actually matter to us personally.

In this week’s podcast I speak with Caroline about some of the ideas in the book.

In The Episode We Discuss:

  • How we can recognise the impact of intangible personal development work when things don’t work out as planned.
  • The links between expectations and a fear of disappointment.
  • How holding to the weight of expectations might be impacting our lives life.
  • What we sacrifice when we submit to those expectations. Where we feel like we do owe energy, time, and attention to things that don’t truly matter to us.
  • How “Cold Bucket Experiences” can start an inner mission. For which we exchange our authenticity in order to avoid the pain of criticism and judgement.
  • Why guilt isn’t a reliable indicator of whether or not you should do something. And how feelings of guilt often tell you that something IS worth doing.
  • Why so many of us feel obligated to explain and justify ourselves for doing things in particular ways.
  • How changing our language in small and subtle ways can help free us from the weight of OUR OWN expectations.
  • How to playfully fight the protective urge to explain all the reasons what we’ve done isn’t very good.

Over to You

Does any of our discussion resonate with your own experiences? Which of those areas that Caroline says we don’t owe to anyone, stands out as the biggest challenge for you to let go of? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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