I’m sure you don’t need it, yet here are a couple of general definitions from a Google search relating to the word “excuse” to set the scene.
- Seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); try to justify.
- turn a blind eye to
- turn a deaf ear to
- release (someone) from a duty or requirement.
- Don’t worry about him, he’s not in his right mind.
If we read through a dictionary, we could produce a few pages of words that take away the confidence and power of a group or, particularly an individual. The simple, often heard word, “excuse” being one of them and a major culprit in holding us back and making things difficult. It can be used by us and used by people who seek to protect us from the negative aspects of their perceptions of ourselves and others.
Once we start using excuses to justify our actions, or lack of, we step onto a slippery slope to nowhere good. Allowing others to make excuses for us, gives the process of excuses a powerful helping hand and disempowers our ability to make choices.
What if you were incapable of making excuses for your behavior or actions; how would life look if such a scenario were true? Imagine, just for a moment that the word “excuses” doesn’t exist in any languages and there are no synonyms for it. Would we go looking for a substitute or create a word because making excuses is a natural human trait?
- They enable us to rationalize our behaviors and justify our actions or, lack of.
- Excuses deny responsibility for our behavior.
- Distract ourselves from psychological dissonance. (cognitive dissonance is the experience of psychological stress that occurs when a person holds two or more conflicting beliefs, ideas, values, or participates in an action (excuse making) that goes against one of these three). For example, “I’ve got other things to think about right now”.
- They change our behavior “I will take the time to address this issue, later”. Later doesn’t always arrive.
Years of cultural conditioning that grew from early-childhood reinforcements and thinking limiting thoughts have joined forces and enabled us to create excuses; so engrained are some of these excuses that we use them like valuable currency to justify our actions, or lack of. They have become a reality that we’re not always consciously aware of.
Too Tired, Too Busy
Have you ever used one of these excuses? Wait, before you answer, take a breath, don’t try to justify your answer. Have you, or not?
Here’s a live example. I’m too tired to write this post because I stayed up until 03:00 AM last night to participate in a live event online. The more I think “tired” the more tired I will become. Fatigue will set in and I may not make it as far as dinner this evening. If I quit now, I can always come back later, tomorrow or the next day. I’m too tired for this, people won’t understand what I write today. Allowing the tired excuse will defeat my goal of publishing this post before midday. The more I think tired . . . around and around we go, and the excuse will halt my progress if I allow it. It is entirely my choice.
What Can I Do?
Rather than accept a defeating excuse, I have abandoned the tired thinking and replaced it with a positive vision that, I feel great. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and once I have finished this post, I will deliver my daughter to her kayak club and enjoy a three-hour mountain bike ride while she paddles. This positive thinking habit is fixed, and my plans will come to fruition.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Imagination is a very high sort of seeing”.
Absolutely true indeed. If we can visualize achieving something, excuses lose any hold over us that they may once have had.
I will return to excuses on Monday. Tomorrow is family day and we will be enjoying a day in the outdoors. There are no excuses there, but we do need to be aware of when we are making excuses and when we are not.
There are many ways to effectively explore and challenge your limits. We need a box of tools to challenge the boundaries and move forward toward success.
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Comments and Questions
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I bow to the place in you that is love, light, and joy and I wish you a wonderful day.
Peace & Light
Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.