I notice something I have been doing.
If there is even a remote possibility that I have behaved poorly, I find myself searching for justification.
Or additionally, if I have a choice of behaving one of two ways, I will find myself trying to provide a way of making the “lesser” of the two paths more honorable.
Why do we constantly find ourselves justifying our actions? I mean, is it a form of compensation?
This stems right along with the idea of shortcuts.
I mean, if I am at a crossroads in my life—using the example of college—and I had the opportunity to either take a test on my own or use the help of others (cheating), in an attempt to make a decision, I would find myself justifying cheating.
I would say things over and over in my mind, such as “Well, I really am studying hard, but it is so unfair that I have test anxiety and I shouldn’t have to deal with it,” or “Well, it isn’t like I am lazy, I am just challenged in this area and this is so that I will feel as though my hard work is being reflected.” And so it goes on and on, and before I knew it, I had justified in my mind years and years of dishonorable conduct in the classroom.
It also seeps into other arenas of my life, whether it be work-related or relationship-oriented.
With work, we can find ourselves stepping on the toes of friends and colleagues, in order to receive that promotion that is “so well deserved,” or going behind the back of a friend, in order to gain some kind of personal satisfaction.
And here is what makes me surprised as well: When we are confronted and our behaviors are revealed, we are so quick to be defensive; it’s almost as if our conscious isn’t traveling at the same pace as our behavior.
We act and don’t consider outcome, don’t consider emotional damage. We don’t appreciate the victim of our decision.
But more importantly, we don’t acknowledge where we are going wrong; there is a genuine disconnect there. And for so many years I lived that disconnect.
Cheating for me wasn’t an action of mal intent, and therefore wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. I justified those years as “Well, since I’m at a personal disadvantage here, this is what I must do in order to survive.”
What in the world? And then a day comes when…a light bulb comes on.
Suddenly, I realized that my poor behaviors can’t be justified any longer; I do not deserve to look at myself in the mirror and be proud or satisfied with the choices made. And that is what stimulated change.
So here is an opportunity to really look hard at our own personal decision making.
When we find ourselves at a crossroads, are you having to justify decisions made? If you even have to go there, then chances are it probably isn’t the best option.
Ed: Bryonie Wise
Like elephant I’m not “Spiritual.” I just practice being a good person on Facebook.