8-12-18 Rationalization


To explain or justify (one’s behavior) with incorrect reasons or excuses, perhaps without conscious awareness. To dismiss or minimize the significance of something by means of an explanation or excuse. Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, while avoiding the true reasons for the behavior. Putting lipstick on a pig. No offense to pigs intended.

“There are cases where our ancient enemy, rationalization, has stepped in and has justified       conduct which was really wrong. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the  essence of character building and good living.” 12 and 12

With our primary addiction, we needed to take direct action, supported by others who had been through that experience, and we began to find a stronger sense of self that could and would make good decisions. We recognized the false justifications that led us to be dependent on a substance or behavior. We began to see more clearly what we were doing and the effect it had on us and others. We confronted what behaviors were responsible. We re-adjusted our thoughts and actions, our view of the world, and of ourselves in a healthy, positive way. 

When we quit rationalizing that we should have things our way it was an eye-opener. Look, there are other people in the world who are just like me, and wonderfully different also. We compromise and cooperate. We compromise the need to have things OUR way, we never compromise our values.

We go from realizing what a selfish idiot we had been, and begin to trust and care for ourselves and then help others when we are healthy enough to do so. We hear wisdom and recognize it. We accumulate and try out new behaviors and ways of thinking and acting. We replace our harmful behaviors with honesty, courage and kindness. 

In many ways we do know the wisdom of cooperating and recognizing the validity of others and their ways and needs that may be different from ours.  Most of us do not demand others worship or have the same spiritual path we have. We cooperate and while driving, or being in line in a store or associating with friends or family. We also sometimes begin to get antsy or upset when the line is too long or the traffic is too heavy, or the family is too whacky. This awareness of, “Things are not going the way I want them to” is vital to have. We can then recognize the futility of being upset with the reality of a situation, and laugh at ourselves.                                                                                                   

A sense of humor about ourselves is important to have when we are railing against truth, reality and something we have no control over. This is when we laugh at ourselves a little, relax and appreciate what a good life we really have, and don’t permit selfishness to roll us around in the “poor me muck”.  

Even so, we often still suffer from shortcomings that cause us to rationalize and hide from the truth and our real selves. We can find one antidote for this tendency in the Big Book of AA, paraphrased here: “On awakening…we consider our plans. May our thinking be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. During the day…we may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision. It is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times.” We must be diligent, and see the benefit in taking a moment to reset our thinking so we come from a place of seeing and knowing the larger picture. This takes time, a consistent awareness, and a recognition of the joy that our disciplines bring.

When I am about to act on something, my mind may begin to rationalize my action so that I will not create waves with anyone. I can begin projecting what I THINK others will think of me and modify my actions accordingly. Or I may have a good rationale ready to defend myself, so I will appear more appealing or acceptable to others. My goodness, what a messy jungle. I may need instead to re-examine my motives, and move forward with the courage to do what I believe is right. Most of my fears about how I appear to others are only fabrications of my insecurity. I realize that when I am acting to mollify others, I deny myself the responsibility for my actions and my life. Right action needs no rationale or explanation. 

There may be confrontation, challenges and a fear of the unknown in any relationship. We need to be careful to not discard relationships before we’re sure we’ve done what we can to better them. Don’t abandon something out of hand because it’s challenging. Challenges, well and honestly taken on is where our growth occurs. And an honest realization that a relationship or an association with certain others or places are harmful and negative, is also a challenge we need to accept.

We need to feel our anxiety, so we can begin to see it and work with it, or it will continue to be a problem that we act out because of, or justify harmful behavior because of, our fear. 

Who you really are is a strong, kind, intelligent, independent and connected person that has a gentle sense of self-worth and dignity. Whenever you deny these innate traits by wallowing in false projections of yourself, playing games with the truth, living in fear, or justifying your      behaviors, you feel and know that you are not being genuine. 

Do you keep waiting for the good stuff to begin? The good stuff is right here, right now. You need to step into it with honesty, courage and an open heart. This takes time to begin living with an honest, kind and brave mentality. We have some large and some small behaviors we need to be aware of, and to replace with an open heart. The difficult times still happen, the wonderful times still happen. You are fully present for all of life. No more excuses needed. 

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.                                           Heart Of Recovery web site — fcheartofrecovery.com