One of the most corrosive things many of us do is that we often rationalise perceived mistakes we made. I am often astounded with the justifications that some people come up when they fall short of their own or other’s expectations. They will find something or someone to blame. They often blame the weather, racism, historical disadvantages, God or Satan, the government, the recipe, fellow workers, the children, their partner etc. What we fail to understand is that rationalisation fortifies our habit of living a life of RESISTANCE. Did it ever cross your mind that mistakes you make or events where you fail to conclude a project successfully is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow?
The word “sin” originally simply meant that a person fell short of the expectation (goal) that he was expected to achieve. It is only when devious and clever operators noticed the wonderful opportunity to use failure as a mind control system that the concept of sin took on the horrific dimensions still used in many religions. People were made to feel like shit when they once again fell short of the so-called requirements that God personally cast in stone. What amplified the fear of sinning and letting God down was the absolute nonsense preached that nobody can escape the all seeing eye of God. People became devious and began to hide, rationalise and justify their failures.
Children that have strict and obsessive parents soon discover that telling the truth can turn into a fairly unpleasant experience. They soon develop a wide range of justifications and rationalisation that would make a judge scratch his head. Some children can think up excuses and reasons for poor performance or a lack of progress that would make most defence attorneys blush. Something else that must be kept in mind is that all of us look at life through our own filter systems. We see our own perceptions and real and valid and often cannot see anything from other’s perspectives. We become mentally blind and cannot for a moment contemplate why someone is making such a fuss about a perceived mistake we made. Empathy (putting you in other’s shoes) fell apart over the years. Showing empathy means that you admit to your mistakes and as explained earlier could lead to pain and punishment. Every time we get away with the justifications we make up we entrench ourselves deeper in our castle of RESISTANCE.
The problem with “making up stories and justifications” is that we must suddenly remember what bullshit story we used to cover up our dispositions. The joke is that we begin to believe our own stories and will often be prepared to fight to the death to keep what really happened under wraps. Admitting mistakes we made provide wonderful learning opportunities and at the same time extract the toxic substance that accompanies whatever transpired. We came to this dimension to experience and to grow. The mistakes we make are wonderful opportunities to learn and to expand our self-image and self-esteem. You can save lots of time, tap dancing and frustration if you admit your mistake and offer to remedy whatever damage you caused. There are parent that strongly insist that their children tell them the truth (and nothing but the truth).
Children are often confronted by hair raising performances by their parents when they dare to tell the truth. Their mother begin to hyperventilate while she rips bundles of hair out of her sculpt while the father clutch his chest while he whisper and wheeze how he is going to beat the child up and force him to stay in his room for fifteen years. Let’s be honest. Very few children will continue to admit to mistakes after a few dramatic performances by his or her parents. Children later become adults and even later parents. They in turn duplicate the examples set by their parents and in the process produce a new generation of children that RESIST admitting mistakes that also find it impossible to show empathy to those that they harmed in with a mistake they made. The solution is to “tell it like it is” and let the chips fall where they may.
Spend today and see if you notice how you or others justify and rationalise when mistakes are made. See how service staff blame the computer when the messed up your account. See how incompetent mechanics flounder and lie when you question the quality of work they did on your vehicle. Try a few time to admit your mistakes without trying to justify your error. You might shock a few individuals that are not used to hearing the truth – but do it anyway. I will continue this series tomorrow.