Rationalization is an impulsive defense mechanism employed to assuage and survive the painful feelings of guilt brought on by not doing what we feel is right. Since guilt is a blanket none of us wish to lay beneath, we'll do or say anything to try and get out from under it. But no matter how much we cleverly appoint and assign reasons or excuses for wrongdoings, remorse and shame will always be there, robbing contentment from our character, unless we stand up to our truth.
I think it is safe to say most of us have at least once, been a victim to that needling voice inside our head that steers us away from what we feel is right. Maybe we know of people, politicians or co-workers who present a knack for worming their way out of a promise or an obligation. People who repeatedly validate their reasons why they refuse to play by the rules think they are entitled to have what they want, no matter the cost.
When we master the art of rationalization it not only burdens us, it negatively affects those around us. This type of behavior brings on a deep guilt that can make us feel insecure and depressed, especially if in our hearts we know we did something wrong.
Thankfully, with a little due diligence, we can live in truth, release the need to rationalize our actions, and dispel guilty feelings for good.
Admit You Made a Mistake
Speaking of politicians, senator Al Franken believes, “Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way.” If you adopt this concept, you give yourself the opportunity to gain wisdom through experience, rather than opting to run and hide from responsibility. The moment you catch yourself rationalizing a mistake you’ve made, stop. Swallow your pride and be accountable for your actions because in the end the lessons you learn will only serve you better.
Be Honest With Yourself Before You Make a Commitment
Before you vow to commit to something or someone, make sure your intention is aligned with the voice in your heart. Nothing leaves you vulnerable to the need to rationalize your actions more than making a false claim before you act. Decide if what you are committing to is something with which you can follow through. If not, leave it alone. Energy spent making false promises is more energy wasted in rationalization.
Accept Your Imperfections
All of us struggle with the haunting feelings that ensue after we do something wrong, whether it was slyly intended or purely by accident. Some people sadly beat themselves up on the inside while sugar coating their pain with some kind of rationalization because they are too proud to be less than perfect. Any flaw, mishap or bad judgment call can severely damage the ego of someone who just can’t be caught in an error. But no one is absolutely without fault. Imperfection is what builds character and gives us the tools to best serve others, especially when we can accept it within ourselves.
You are accountable for your actions so be honest with yourself and accept your blunders. Although not easy, these are key behaviors in wiping out the need to rationalize not living in your truth. Most importantly, these attributes will help keep you from going against the true voice in your heart so you can live a life of contentment rather than one of displeasure.