“You don’t owe anything to anybody!” is the motto every homegrown life coach or therapist is chanting for a lot of money nowadays, but is this phrase applicable to real life?  Its interpretation is clearly wrong, and I’ll explain why. There’s one well-known expression that is dearly beloved by those who like getting tipsy every now and then. The phrase goes like this, “In vino veritas”. My lord, in wine lies the truth, it means that now I can take a 250ml sip of Merlot. Right, hold on! The expression ends like this,“…in aqua sanitas”, which means “in water there is health”.  That is, this phrase generates the follow up of a philosophical reflection on the choice between one’s well-being and the pleasure of getting drunk. If you live by the whole expression, 250ml of Merlot will become 50ml to help one’s appetite. It’s not as much fun, but healthy instead.

The phrase “I don’t owe anything to anybody, and I don’t have to do anything” should be followed by “…but I can. For instance, you don’t have to help or look after homeless animals, but you can. However, you must pay off your loan, because it’s your responsibility. You must be on time for work because you have an agreement with your employer.

You can’t imagine how many tears of mine had been shed before I finally realized that nobody owes me anything either. For a whole year, every Saturday my boyfriend and I would go to the bars to get some (liters of, really) cocktails. I solemnly declared those bar trips our tradition. One day it must have been the devil’s prompting that made him not invite me. I was taken aback by that “insolence”, the shroud of resentment washed over me. I made a decision to use the superpower that comes with every girl and is called “I’m a princess, and everybody owes me, c’mon”. I started giving my boyfriend bullshit and complaining about everything. How dare he ruin my Saturday night, what the heck! I did receive a sobering, cutting, and quite a reasonable answer to that and it was, “I don’t have to ask you out on a binge every Saturday”. Sure, he could’ve worked on the wording, rough words can hurt and break one’s heart. Like attracts like, so I guess I should’ve expected it. What happened after that? Furthermore, after I’d cooled down, I realized that the way I may spend my Saturday leisure time on me as well. We didn’t stop visiting liquor houses, however, I stopped taking it for granted, and life became somewhat more comfortable.

“I don’t owe anything to anybody”

This phrase is good for building personal boundaries and healthy inner balance, not for shouting it to everyone you see in the street. It’s especially important to protect one’s family from this phrase, as there are certain things in life that we don’t want to do, but we need to. Only because intuitively it feels right.