Why Do We Justify Ourselves?

7, October 2015 in Psychology 1 Shared

We justify ourselves when, as we’re having a conversation with someone, we spend most of the time giving reasons or explanations for why we do or don’t do things.

Those reasons or explanations are meant to clarify our intentions. However, they turn into justifications or excuses that are completely unnecessary and uncalled for, considering that the person you’re talking to probably doesn’t care.

Sometimes, we say them to make ourselves feel better, because we worry about what other people might think of us.

What’s the difference between justifications and excuses?

We justify ourselves when we give too many explanations about doing something. Excuses, on the other hand, are employed when we haven’t done anything, and want to apologize for our lack of action.

But, why do we do it?

Usually we reach for excuses and justifications when we want to appear confident or present a positive image of ourselves. However, we’re unknowingly showing off our insecurities when looking for approval or acceptance in others.

It’s at that moment when doubt, uncertainty of what people might think, and insecurity make us forget that we have a right to make our own decisions, whether other people like them or not. Through excuses and justification we disguise or transform our decisions based on what we think other people’s criteria is.

How can we stop justifying ourselves?

To stop justifying our actions or excusing ourselves for things we haven’t done, first and foremost, we must learn to make decisions with confidence, recognizes the reasons behind our decisions, and believe that we have the right to make our own decisions, even if they’re wrong.

In other words, we need to be authentic in spite of anything else. We need to feel absolute freedom to be who we are, to recognize our opinions and decisions, and appreciate ourselves.

How can I explain myself without justifications or excuses?

Often times, when communicating a decision that’s been made, it’s necessary and convenient to expose the reasons behind your position. In this case, expressing why you’ve made the decision doesn’t have to be a justification or an excuse, but you need to keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure your motive is clear and concise. 
  • Go straight to the point; don’t beat around the bush.
  • Explain your reasoning as an affirmation, with confidence and forcefulness.
  • Don’t doubt yourself while explaining or add false reasons.
  • Make sure your explanation is relative to your decision, and therefore, interesting to the other person.

Why do we justify or excuse others?

Justifying or excusing others is something we do frequently when we want to maintain the image we have of the other person. Or, we want a third person to maintain a solid image of the person we’re justifying.

Occasionally, we want to maintain a person’s image, even if their behavior doesn’t coincide, because we need or depend on it physically or emotionally.

When we justify or excuse another person it shows that never had a real image of who the other person is. By excusing or justifying them, we keep maintaining the image of who we want them to be, without actually knowing what kind of person they really are.

This will make us suffer because who we want them to be, isn’t who they really are. Deception and physical, emotional, and psychological damage are inevitable, even if we excuse it, and are guaranteed to make us suffer.

How can we stop excusing or justifying others?

To stop justifying or excusing other people, first of all, we have to learn to stop doing it to ourselves. Doing so will make us feel more secure and content with ourselves and consequently, we’ll learn to know a person by their acts, attitudes, and behavior, and not so much by what others think of them or what we want them to be.

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