Why are we always justifying ourselves?

I’ve noticed a new trend. It’s not a new fashion look or a new beauty product or even a new millennial word the kids have made up to describe how great something is.

It’s not even a new food trend for us all to munch on or a new celebrity man for us to lust over.

But it is a trend that all of my friends and even me are doing and I bet you are all partaking in.

It appears that we are becoming a generation of people that can’t just give an answer; we also have to explain ourselves and then justify our actions at every step of the way.

I asked my boyfriend the other day if he had washed up. Instead of the ‘No’ he should have answered me with, I got a 10 minute rendition of ‘Here are all the reasons why I didn’t do the washing up’ which ended in me not caring anymore and telling him to go wash up.

At work, I asked one of the other girls if she had done a drinks bottle count for stock take. Again, a story of why she hadn’t counted the bottles ensued and again it ended with me interrupting her and asking her to go make a list.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that people don’t seem able to just give an answer anymore. It is as if we all feel on trial all of the time and have a constant need to justify every action we make or in these cases don’t make.

I’m a very blunt person; ask me a question and you will usually just get a yes or no answer, so this behavior baffles me even more than it probably should but I can’t help thinking what is the reason behind it?

Why are we constantly justifying ourselves?

There is a train of thought that if a person feels that their answer will lead to a negative outcome; for example, my boyfriend thought I would be angry at him, then they feel the need to justify their actions to lessen the blow for the person asking the question but also to make themselves feel better.

I can see on a social level why this might work but in reality, surely it is better to just bite the bullet, admit that you didn’t do something and move on because that is what is eventually going to happen anyway.

Taking ownership of who we are and what we do and don’t do doesn’t make us bad people or weaker in some way.   Someone once said to me ‘wherever there is a human being, there is room for human error’ and they are right. We all make mistakes or forget to wash up. We are all human after all and is that not enough of a justification on its own?

No one is perfect, it simply doesn’t exist so stop explaining yourself or justifying anything and just be the beautiful, chaotic flawed you that you are. It’s what makes life entertaining!

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8 thoughts on “Why are we always justifying ourselves?

  1. That was an amazing write-up! I cannot help but agree that I justify myself too, all the time. Our writing styles are quite overlapping! Great thinking and great writing. 🙂

  2. Interesting article that is so true, especially when declining an invitation. Its not good enough to just say no, instead we elaborate on why we cannot. Perhaps we do this to avoid hurting the others persons feeling, or to persuade ourselves that our decision is just. Sometimes a simple no thanks is probably sufficient 🙂

  3. An interesting post – I am a linguist so I love posts about language or communication 🙂

    I don’t know what your perception is, but I would add that ‘justification’ doesn’t happen only when people haven’t done something they should have. I mean, you questioning your boyfriend or someone at your work about a job that you expected them to have done seems to often require a longer than one word response regardless of whether the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
    Responding by saying ‘yes’ (or ‘no’) feels a bit like something that would take place in parent-child conversation (or the army) where one party is the one in charge and the other doesn’t really have a say in things.
    Have you done the dishes? -Yes.

    I think, more commonly, people would say something like:

    Have you done the dishes? -Yes. I did them before I went to work (said with a slightly annoyed, cross or hurt tone of voice).

    What do you think? Do people say too much in all contexts? 🙂

    1. Lol like I said I’m quite a blunt person. Ask me a question that can be answered with yes or no and that’s what you get so when I ask a question I only need yes or no to be sufficient.

  4. Every single thought in this is my thinking EXACTLY. Literally, I let it slide all the time, but when I’m already frustrated, I have a bad habit of finally being like I asked yes or no, just give me an answer. And I find the habit puts people in an easy mindset for interrupting as well. Whenever I actually do have a long explanation, people often interrupt me with a question halfway through. GRRRR!! Thanks for sharing lady xx

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