JUSTIFYING OUR LIVES

jus·ti·fy
ˈjəstəˌfī/
verb
  1. 1
    show or prove to be right or reasonable.
    "the person appointed has fully justified our confidence"
    synonyms:give grounds for, give reasons for, give a justification for..

I admit it I'm completely guilty of justifying the things I do, or don't do.  I'm working on it along with a dozen other issues.  I took a walk yesterday and during the walk found the chatter in my head annoying.  Instead of a four mile walk I did two miles.  I felt guilty for not walking further so I kept justifying why I was doing it...in my head of course.  Why on earth do I need a reason?   I mean I'm a relatively intelligent, grown, independent woman.  If I take a two or ten mile walk why do I need a reason...why am I justifying anything especially to myself?  Where does this come from.

Let me take a walk down the path of our puritanical beginnings in the country.  Our forefathers chose to use God in his scariest version to maintain order, give meaning, and give direction to their lives.  If a person stepped out of line in those days you were going to burn in hell, and hell was really bad, actually it still is.  But you could accidentally pick up a stick on a Sunday and you broke sabbath and for the love of all that is holy the consequence could be, burn in hell.  Although we hopefully still choose  a moral compass to help direct our lives we certainly have a broader vision of what this means.  You don't even need to believe in a higher being to decide that living as a decent person has its perks.  I mean being nice just well feels great.  I think of it this way, Atheists are some of the most decent and compassionate people on the planet, after all for them nothing exists but oblivion after this life which makes every choice even more important.  So what does all this have to do with justifying?  That self-talk and need to qualify all the little parts of our life come from guilt, shame, and uncertainty.  This is at the very foundation of who we are.  I am sure there are a hundred different places this guilt can come from but if we go back and look at where some of this comes from we can step back and take another perspective.

When we stop justifying our lives we are suddenly much freer to simply do what is most satisfying.  A strange thing happens when we do this.  We stop judging not only our self but others.  For example, I took a nap one Sunday.  I was tired.  I told my friend a boring list of why I took a nap: because I was tired, I had done a ton of work, I had a hard week, my foot hurt, I needed to recharge.  The thing is I actually said all those things, maybe more, because I felt guilty for taking a nap.  I mean I still enjoyed it but it wasn't as satisfying.  My friend I was talking to said, "wow it must be nice".  I was a little taken aback and realized in an instant my friend was just reflecting back what I was giving her.  You know what it was nice to take a nap.  It was nice when I read a book.  It was nice when I took a walk.  It was also nice when I took a shower.  OMG I can totally enjoy myself without guilt if I just decide to.  Get out!!!!  I can just feel tired and take a nap.  I can just feel hungry and eat something.  I can decide a bath might be nice and take one.  I can decide to work at home.  I can decide to start a pogo stick contest.   I can just do, be, and live.  I don't really need to justify to myself or anyone else.  

It's a liberating and refreshing realization.  One that will take practice as well.  But oddly enough the learning curve is very short.  I've just finished a book and the kitchen was dirty while I was reading.  My world didn't fall apart, my skin didn't burn off my flesh, and now I am pretty relaxed sitting here writing about taming this justification demon.  (sorry had to take that pun)  So stop justifying why you nap, smoke, eat, work, play Pokemon Go, or whatever it is you just really want to do and brings you joy or works for you.   I'm pretty sure you won't go to hell for taking a nap or playing Pokemon.  Stay safe, be kind, and be happy.

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