Erin recently sent me a link to this article listing out 18 things women shouldn’t have to justify or explain. It is a great article, and a fun read and I encourage you to check it out here. But it got me thinking: what is the point and purpose of justifying yourself? Justification is not something that serves us well (and if you have read any of our other posts you know how I feel about doing things that serve you well), so let’s cut to the chase and just live as we will and do the things that bring us happiness, rest, and a sense of wellbeing.
Justification is damaging to the person needing to present the reason or purpose behind an action, event, or state of being. Sometimes things are out of our control and to have to explain away why something is when we had no hand in creating it is ridiculous. Looking at #11, justifying why you wanted to put less makeup on today versus yesterday is ridiculous – it is no one’s business and it brings into question your level of worth as a person through someone else’s point of view. Justification means we have to explain to someone why we are worthwhile and why we are important.
People demanding justification from us are the same people who are trying to put you down or belittle you. I don’t want to imply that this always comes from a malicious place or that people are out to get you because they aren’t! Most people ask for justification because they honestly don’t understand something, they have a different worldview, or they really want to help you be better by examining your though process. I bet you had no idea all that was riding behind, “Wow – you just ate more than my kid brother after hockey practice, were you really that hungry?” This person is probably a little surprised you could hold that much food at one time, and is wondering if it is healthy for you to ingest that much at once. A question that is rooted in concern and surprise grows into a mess of judgment, blame, and guilt.
When we don’t understand things we ask for an explanation. Now, truth be told, I think that is a good thing. When you don’t understand or you are interested to know more you should ask questions and dig around a little bit to find answers and deeper understanding. But seeking understanding and seeking justification are two different things.
- Understanding is non-threatening and is validating to us.
- Justification is judgmental and harmful to both the asker and the person asked because of its sneak attack on personal worth.
Justification has become so ingrained into our culture that we often provide justification for the things we do without being asked. We are questioning our own self-worth before anyone else is. That is how deeply rooted this guilt-seed has become. You wear leggings and you have to say that it is because they are comfortable; you want to spend all Saturday watching your favorite show and that is ok because you worked a full 40 hr week. What is that like, to have to prove why your thoughts, feelings, and actions are valid? To have to prove that it is ok for you to be you at your best and worst times? I think that is kind of hard, and it takes your biggest advocate (YOU) and forces them to be your first critic.
When we have self-compassion and we cherish ourselves, then we know that we are innately worthy and that our choices are good just because they serve us well. You love leggings – so enjoy wearing them. You love your favorite show, so watch it relax!1
- Google + Author, https://plus.google.com/u/0/102851063175689428953 ↩