The need to feel justified is one of the strongest, most intoxicating and uniquely human conditions. It’s amazing how far we will go to get that fix, how hard we will work to prove we were right about something or someone. How hard do you defend your version of what happened in a “he said, she said” argument? When you send an email and the other person doesn’t remember getting it, how much energy do you spend trying to prove that you sent it and that they are in the wrong?
The problem with self-justification is that it’s always adversarial. And, it diverts energy away from effectiveness. Before you give up self-justification cold turkey, though, consider the other things to which you’d be saying farewell:
What could you lose?
- Saying, “I told you so.”
- Saying, “See!”
- Saying, “I knew it.”
- Proving you were right
- Blaming someone for how you feel
- Putting yourself down because you aren’t worthy
- Having to be the one with the solution
- Giving in to keep the peace
- Giving unsolicited advice to make others better
- Giving ultimatums to avoid responsibility
- Judging yourself or other people
- Defending or explaining yourself
- Cable news (this is one of my most reliable self-justification suppliers)
What could you gain?
Things to Ponder
- How do you spend energy seeking self-justification? What is it costing you?
- What could you gain by giving it up?
- What steps can you take to give up justification?