Break Free from Self-Justification

I lied. I was pulling through the pick up window. The very window I’d already told myself not to access today. The very window I knew was serving up a dish of inflammation, degenerate disease, and brain fog. How did I get here? It really is pretty simple, I managed to get in the line by telling myself, “Just one more frappe won’t hurt. I deserve it. It’s been a hard day. I’ll just do it this one time.” On our journey of personal growth and empowerment, one significant obstacle holding us back is the tendency to self-justify. Or if we want to be bold and call it what it is we could say we lie to ourselves.

Understand the Roots of Self-Justification

We all have this need to justify our actions and decisions, especially the ones inconsistent with our belief system. I believe food is a vital part of our health or un-health. I understand that sugar is both addictive and detrimental to my joints. In order to be in the Starbucks line, I have to justify my decision.

We put ourselves in a state of tension when we are holding two inconsistent thoughts. It’s not only that our actions and beliefs don’t line up but that our self-image degrades a bit when we operate from this place of misalignment. By not behaving in line with our beliefs, our integrity suffers. When my integrity takes a hit, I have to reaffirm that I am good. In walks self-justification.

The Consequences of Self-Justification

Mindless self-justification is like quick sand — it pulls us in deeper and deeper. The more we self-justify, the more we are unable to see our error, much less correct it. Self-justification begins to distort our reality. When we are no longer facing the brutal facts of reality, we cannot get the information we need and assess the situation with clarity. Now we believe our own lies.

Steps to Overcome Self-Justification
  1. Cultivate Self-Awareness: The first step in stopping self-justification is developing a deep sense of self-awareness. Reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and behavior without judgement. Understand our patterns so that we can make conscious choices aligned with who we desire to be.
  2. Challenge Our Beliefs: Question the beliefs that drive our self-justification. Are they genuinely aligned with our values? Are they products of societal conditioning? Are they fueling cravings rather than convictions?
  3. Embrace Vulnerability: Recognize that vulnerability is not a weakness but a gateway to authenticity. Choosing to be brave enough to acknowledge our mistakes, imperfections and fears moves us past our justification.
  4. Practice Self-compassion: Replace self-judgement with self-compassion. Understand it’s okay to make mistakes — treat  ourselves with kindness, forgiveness, and love.

Self-Justification may be a deeply ingrained habit, but it is not insurmountable. Understanding why we do it and what repercussions we get as a result of it are big first steps. By cultivating self-awareness, challenging our beliefs and embracing vulnerability, we can break free from this self-defeating cycle.

If we’re trying to justify something, we are most definitely trying to escape from something we don’t want to admit. It’s time for us to face the truth and chose growth.

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