A friend once said, “You cannot change what you do not see.” I agree and appreciate her insight because it reminds me that I need to be aware, alert and cognizant of those times when I feel the need to justify my actions. It has been said that we can justify just about anything. So it is important to stay alert to those ideas, opinions and actions that we sometimes have to justify. If I don’t examine what I am justifying, then I may do myself more harm than good.
On the Defense
I’ve been on the defense before, called to the carpet and asked to explain my actions. I’ve been accused and blamed for being insensitive, too rigid, or uncaring. There is a bit of anxiety, uncertainty and worry. I know my adrenaline level is high and my heart pumps faster. It is a most discomforting space to occupy.
Yet, it has been said that we are capable of justifying just about anything. Consequently, when I am charged with offending another, being insensitive, too harsh, or seemingly uncaring, my first response is to defend myself.
Nobody likes to be accused or found guilty. Yet, taking a defensive stance does nothing but keep me ignorant of something I might need to change. It is only when I take an honest look at what I am defending that I can decide whether or not my actions are on or off track.
Usually, after such an event where I’ve been called to the carpet, I can’t help but reflect on the experience. If I don’t take an honest look at my actions and my feelings then I will be stuck in a defensive stance with a stubborn mindset that can result in more damage to myself and others as well as no hope for change.
On the other hand, if I can stay objective and non accusatory toward myself, then there is hope for change if change is necessary.
I can ask myself a few questions such as; was there something I could have done differently to have prevented the misunderstanding? Is there something I need to alter about myself? Sometimes there is something I can alter and by noticing what I am justifying, I can modify my action, an opinion, or my mindset. Other times, there is nothing that I need to improve, reform or amend. The situation is unalterable, one that I simply need to learn to live with.
Why bother noticing what we justify? It is always good, though not always painless, to tune into those moments when we feel we need to take a firm stance. Those moments can be used to refine us and define more clearly what exactly we stand for.