Our ability to justify and rationalize our actions is truly immense and at times, astounding. In my life, I have found that when I want to do something– or for that matter, when I want to find a way out of doing something– I am extremely capable of coming up with a story that justifies my behavior and rationalizes my actions.
While this has certainly held true in my life, this behavior has never been more evident on a widespread scale than in our current Coronavirus environment. If you were to ask someone whether they are being careful, if they are practicing social-distancing, or whether they are being otherwise diligent in following our current guidelines, most would answer with a resounding “Yes!”. That being said, every day, there is at least one person who tells me who they are willing to be around, as well as who they are more-or-less choosing to avoid.
As humans, we often pick and choose what we wish to engage in based around our moods and preferences of the moment, but during the Coronavirus pandemic especially, we all share in this common situation we are able to hide behind– in reality, using the pandemic to justify and rationalize our decisions.
If asked on the face of things, “Are we liars?”, most of us would surely answer, “No!”. However, if we make the choice to behave inconsistently, and we choose when we are or are not willing to do something based on our personal preferences– isn’t this the exact same thing as lying?
This has forced me to look at all of the times in my life when I have justified or rationalized my behavior, just because I wanted something in that moment. For the most part, in those moments, I actively chose not to think– or even care– about the potential consequences of my actions or decisions; traditionally, it has been much easier for me to ask for forgiveness after the fact, rather than request permission beforehand.
My question to you is: How do you hold yourself accountable? How do you make sure to live up to what you would expect from others? How do you best live by the motto: ‘Do as I do’, instead of: ‘Do as i say’?
Personally, I have found it extremely beneficial to have a group of men who I am very open with. I check in with members of my group when I am going to make a decision that some part of me is in conflict with, and these men are willing to call me out in a loving way. However, there are still times when I am unaware of my conflict in the moment, and then there are other times when I am just unwilling to seek out consultation. This certainly makes me a work in progress, and it also makes me human.
This week, if someone lies to you or performs an action that you are not okay with, before you judge them, try to remind yourself of all the times you do the same thing– of all the times you, yourself justify your own actions. Then, attempt to approach them with the same love that you would wish to be bestowed upon you if the situation were reversed.