You Don’t Have To

There’s a lot of guilt and obligation floating around both online and off. And while you don’t have to believe a word that I say—trust me, I don’t always believe these myself—just for today, try.


You don’t have to hide your quirks. They make you unique.

You don’t have to drink coffee, and if you do, it doesn’t have to be designer Arabica beans or a $6 latte from Starbucks.

You don’t have to love a certain food because everyone else seems to love it. You can if you want, but do it for you. Not for any other reasons.

You don’t have to check your phone right this minute. Remember how life was a decade ago? Whatever it is can wait.

You don’t have to be the best parent, spouse or friend, but you do have to be there when those people need you.

You don’t have to love yoga or CrossFit or running. Try to be healthy, but be healthy for you. We all need to find out what works.

You don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you.

You don’t have to cook complicated meals with a lot of ingredients. Microwaves were made for a reason.

You don’t have to make Pinterest-worthy desserts. Bakeries are there for a reason, as are Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines mixes.

You don’t have to pin a damn thing.

You don’t have to hide your successes, but it’s far more impressive when others discover your charm without you having to tell them.

You don’t have to tweet a damn thing.

You don’t have to be mean to be funny. In fact, you don’t have to be mean at all.

You don’t have to love your job. You don’t have to hate your job. But you should do a good job when your name and your rep are attached.

You don’t have to tell everything you know because you have a spare minute.

You don’t have to undervalue your strengths or overvalue your mistakes.

You don’t have to hide your scars. They show that you have survived.

You don’t have to take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

You don’t have to write a book. You don’t have to read a book, but if you don’t, you’re missing out.

You do not have to complain each time you’re annoyed, but silent gratitude feels rather wasted.

You don’t have to love being a parent all the time. You don’t have to feel guilty for that.

You don’t have to complain about being a parent all the time. Nobody likes a martyr.

You don’t have to write if you really don’t want to, and when you do, write for yourself.

You don’t have to compare yourself to others. You are you. That is enough.

You don’t have to be inspirational—life isn’t unicorns and glitter—but everyone has their own junk. Try and provide some relief.

You don’t have to click on the link and read through. In fact, you can log off.

You don’t have to make the bed, fold the laundry or clean every day. A house is meant to be lived in.

You don’t have to have it all figured out. Nobody does, and you don’t have to believe them if they tell you they do.

You don’t have to take the road others have taken. Just make sure the path is your own.

And most of all, you don’t have to be the exception.

You are worthy of happiness in your life.

You are worthy of laughter, good food and good friends.

You are worthy of love and support.

You don’t have to do it alone.

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P.S.  I created a new “Illustrated Issues” tab to the top of my blog where I added some of the most popular images from Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy!

29 responses to “You Don’t Have To

  1. Loved this piece. There are so many demands placed on us, and we need to learn when it’s ok to step away, take a break, or completely opt out of what is expected. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be authentic. Hope you’re doing well, and keep writing (yes, you have to 🙂 ).

  2. I don’t have to smile but I just did!

  3. Love this, Abby! People are so much more interesting when they are totally, uniquely themselves instead of trying to fit a mold of “normal.” It’s our quirks that make us lovable.

  4. I loved this. When you let the snark guard down, it’s really pretty.

  5. Wow, what a great post. I feel like I really needed to read this today. And I really love your piece A Light in the Dark. Your honesty and courage is so moving. Beautiful. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for this comment. As insecure as I get about “serious” posts, “A Light in the Dark” was a really important thing for me to try and share. I’m glad that you found it helpful in some way.

  6. Very good piece, Abby! So much to think about and digest. I will say, that I am so happy that you gave me permission not to pin or tweet. Hooray!

    • No crap. It’s so noisy on the Interwebs you have to pick and choose. You DON’T get to quit writing though, as that would be practically criminal.

  7. Well said! And you know I meant it because of my exclamation point, but also because you’re one of my favorite people.

  8. Perfect timing, I needed to hear (read) this today.

  9. That really made for a good read, thanks for compiling this post 🙂

  10. And this is yet another reason why I find your blog so refreshing. When you don’t have me rolling on the floor laughing (alright so I don’t actually roll on the floor, but I’m definitely laughing), you bring something like this to the party: touching, poignant and heart felt. Great post.

  11. You are wise beyond your years.

  12. Abby,
    This post hits me right between the eyes and I actually wrote a post last week venting my frustrations with the whole concept of playing by the “rules”.

    Well said here and a great reminder that we’re here for one reason…happiness.

  13. OMG, I totally needed this today, thank you!!

  14. Beauteous. That is all.

  15. Aw man…sometimes the synchronicity of this life amazes me. I just hit publish on a new post about my own “Am I mean or funny?” internal dialog…and my assertion that I write the way I NEED TO. That it’s for me.
    As always…love you and your stuff!

  16. I think you’re one of the wisest (and funniest) people I know.
    This was really wonderful and right. xo

  17. Thank you for the reminder. This is the glimmer of light in a dark moment, I say moment because I refuse to have these moments turn into dark days. I appreciate your humor, insight, energy.

  18. Some of the best advice I’ve read in a long while. Lots of food for thought. Thanks,Abby.

  19. A big fat yes to all of this.

  20. I don’t have to comment but I really want to. Thank you for helping me be myself in my writing and my blogging… even though I might sound like a total wackadoo. It’s much more fun to be real!

  21. Did you come up with these??? Incredible!

  22. I need to remember these…I don’t have to do everything like everybody else does them, It’s very freeing to know we’re not under any obligation to do a lot of these, such as tweet every day, FB, blog, pinterest, and the list goes on that you feel you have to do to not be forgotten. If it becomes no fun anymore, then just stop before you get overwhelmed with it all! Thanks for reminding me!

  23. You know how I adore your updates. I adore this even more.

    Well done.

  24. Melissa Allen

    Thank you, I really needed this.

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