Excuses. Why do we use them? Why are they a part of our daily vocabulary? Do we know how to identify the excuses that we use in our own lives? What are some excuses that seem very common and universally used? How about, “I don’t have any time.” Or “I’m too busy.” Or “I can’t!” etc.… etc.… etc.… and beyond.
Making excuses for our situation, gives up our control over the situation. Sometimes making excuses is much easier than simply telling the truth. (Ouch!) The reality is, we all use them.
My name is Michelle Navarro and I am a Certified Bonfire Life Coach. My journey into personal development really started in 2016, although, I have always strived to make personal growth in my life annually. I still had a burning feeling in my soul that I was created for more. I started my own business in 2011 and I also do community service for different non-profit organizations. I am married to a wonderful man and have two sons and two step-children. You would think, what else could you ask for? Everything looks great from the outside. But in the past, I still felt incomplete.
I had a longing for something deeper outside of my circumstances, outside of my reality, outside of my seemingly perfect life. A longing for something, that wasn’t outside at all, it was actually something deep within. And, wow, did this open a plethora of information, feelings, emotions, and truths. Was I doing life all wrong? Was I misguided into believing things that didn’t serve me? Have I been missing out on the beauty around me, because I was giving up control of my circumstances? Soo many questions to explore.
This has lead me to explore excuses. More importantly, my own excuses. How have the excuses that I have used on a regular basis served me? How have they contributed to my purpose in life or excelled me in life? Hmmm…. Well, I don’t believe that they have. I think that excuses keep us stuck. I find myself often using excuses to avoid conflict. Is it easier to say an excuse than to be honest? Honest with ourselves? Honest with others? Does it help us avoid conflict?
Now, that I am uncovering the truth behind excuses, I ask myself, “why?” Why do I use them to avoid conflict?
Excuses stem from a deeper unconscious desire to protect ourselves in one way or another. Excuses can protect us against shame. They can protect us from anxiety, which is a whole other topic in itself. It can protect our self-worth, our self-esteem, our self-respect, our self-confidence, our pride, and our dignity. What is the common denominator here? It’s our selves! (OUCH again!)
Okay, now let’s break that down even more. Excuses limit our own capabilities, whether it’s physically, mentally, or even emotionally. Do you often say, “I can’t”, even though you haven’t even challenged yourself to see if you could? Why do we do this? Psychologists place excuse making in the self-handicapping category. (Bigger OUCH!) Let me repeat that: psychologists place excuse making in the self-handicapping category. It’s a behavior we express that hurts our own performance and motivation. Remember I stated earlier, that making excuses for our situation, gives up our control over the situation. This statement has a deeper impact now than it did when we started to explore this conversation.
Excuses keep us stuck in a story. Can excuses shift the blame to make ourselves feel better? (Nodding my head, yes!) Excuses aim to shift the focus from our issues to issues that are possibly out of our control.
Excuses are also much easier than change. For example: I was going to exercise and go for a walk today, although, it started to rain. The rain may be factual, and out of your control but it’s still your excuse not to work out. We often decide to make an excuse instead of making a change. Choosing to make slight changes in our lives keep us from feeling stuck.
Once we recognize where we are making excuses in our lives, then we can start focusing on shifting them. Small shifts instead of excuses will give us our self- worth, our self-esteem, our self-respect, our self-confidence, our pride, and our dignity back. All the things we are making excuses for to protect. (That’s tweetable:-))
A challenge I have taken on to make change is to listen to what I am saying to myself and to others. Then, identify if it’s contributing to my life or the lives of others. If not, it’s an excuse! I choose to no longer limit my own capabilities, and I challenge you to do the same. Keep challenging yourself till you are out of excuses.
Dr. Claudia Aguirre – Neuroscientist
Definition of excuse: Attempt to lessen the blame attaching to a fault or offense; seek to defend or justify. A reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify.
Author: Michelle Navarro – Certified Life Coach