Stop Making Excuses!

New Hope Counseling, PLLC

'Unleashing the Peace Within'. Vol. 1 Ed.5

A Common Scenario

A couple comes into my office because they have been fighting. They're still fighting and want to continue doing so in my office. I slow things down. We start at the beginning. The very beginning. 

"When did you first start fighting?" I might ask. 

"Oh, several years ago about the first month after we met. I was driving and my partner hit me in the arm," they say something like this.

"What did you do about it?" I could then say. 

"I had him/her checked out by a professional and they were diagnosed with ADHD," or some other ailment, including borderline personality, bipolar disorder, autism, Aspergers, some thyroid conditions, etc. "And then I understood why they did it, " is often an all too  frequent reply. 

My Thoughts

I'm not there to judge such people. We all make mistakes. We all get riled up. They are truly suffering. But as the story goes, I see that such behavior is not unique. I see that not only do couples make excuses for their partners, they make them for themselves. Their partner made them mad. They didn't get flowers on their special day. They were injured physically, sexually, or emotionally as a child. Things hurt. Life was hard. ... And its all true. All too true. 

I then see that they are stuck. I see that they are a prisoner, not of their partner, or of life circumstance, but of the terrible dreaded disease of 'Excuses". 

Excuses Protect From Blame

When a person's life is full of excuses, they are living a type of lie. Excuses seem to shield from blame. Often they divert anger away from some over demanding person, trying to force some element of compliance. There are reasons for making excuses, but they are a lie. And when we use them, we begin to believe the lie.

What is the lie?

I am not powerful. I am not responsible for my own actions. I am ashamed of myself. The excuse will protect me. There may be other lies, attached but all of them are about an escape from responsibility as responsibility is seen  as something too harsh, and certainly undesirable. 

The Responsible Have Power to Rise

There comes a point in one's life when he or she no longer seeks the illusions of the lie. When others are to blame for our actions, and who we have become, or who we are, then we are their prisoners. We stop being a prisoner the moment we accept responsibility for each and every word that comes out of our mouths, each action, and when we recognize that fundamentally no one owes us anything just because we exist and are born into the world. No one owes us to carry our load. It is our own job to carry our load, and the job of others to carry their own loads. We can say 'No', and others can tell use 'No'. Be we can also say 'yes' and make agreements with others for the things we want. We can go to work and begin to make a wonder life for ourselves, but only if we step away from the lie of excuses, the entitlement mentality that comes with excuses, and if we accept personal responsibility for our words and actions.

Boundaries Clarify Responsibility

Once we accept that we want to be responsible for our own actions and words, desiring to be free from the deceits of the 'excuse' lie, we next need to learn and understand boundaries. Boundaries are the invisible fences that separate individuals from each other, but which also bind them. Only when we see boundaries clearly can we safely navigate the troubled waters of responsibility. But we can learn to navigate those waters and, additionally, by learning boundaries we develop a freedom that is liberating, coupled with a responsibility that is appropriate. 

The Best Advice I Can Give

Once we learn boundaries, we are not to deem ourselves like some lawyer who is aware of the details of law and then bullies those around him or her with them. No! Once we learn boundaries, if we desire to be a solution rather than a problem, we then develop and practice 'self discipline' so that we can live up to those boundaries, apologizing for their violation without excuse,  and then correcting our own behaviors like one who truly believes in what he or she is doing. Then our characters are stellar! Then we exude a strength of clarity and will that spreads to others as it is seen as noble. Then we have escaped the snare of excuses, and our lives begin to move in directions we have willfully chosen, as doers and not as victims. 

New Hope Counseling, PLLC

9176 S. 300 W. STE 13, Sandy UT 84070

(801) 979-0610