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SELF IMPROVEMENT

Stop seeking justification for your behavior: It work wonders

November 24, 2016

Do we ever find ourselves wasting our time and energy proving our actions we did or words we said?

Please do not hesitate to confess as I am going to tell you- You are not the only one seeking external justification.

We all do this at some point in our lives.

 

I did this a lot until I realized that it was creating an uncomfortable environment around me. I could feel the ripple effects of this parasitic weed of Justification- Uneasiness, mood swings, negativity.

The moment I discovered the root cause I was willing to change it, which is the first step towards the change- Yes, WILLINGNESS.

 

Why we crave for it? We go far, put our best efforts to prove ourselves right.

We seek sympathy by doing so. There is a funny thing about the person seeking Justification “They end up their conversation with- I am not seeking any justification or approval”

Not only behavior; we apply this external justification theory everywhere- our decisions, foolish beliefs, negative attitudes, ill-advised career choices, and more.

We want to ignore the facts, shun any opposing criticism or feedback, and we hold dearly onto our beliefs, attitudes, and choices.

 

To my surprise, there is a huge science behind -seeking external justification- theory : Cognitive dissonance.

Wikipedia says “Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

 

Lets understand this by a simple example-

Say your Friend has said something which was not expected and you stopped talking to him/her. Now, it does not end here-

You will seek someone for stamping your reaction – You may put your every effort to find someone who nod to your behavior. You try your best to convince the person. You crave to hear “Yes, what you did was right”.

In this process, you are not really asking the other person’s opinion but forcing them to speak your mind.

If that person would be unlucky, he or she dare to go against your thoughts and say “No, what you did was not apt” – It will annoy you further and you continue your journey of seeking through  some other person.

SeeHow this never ends. No one can curb this except you- Do not allow your heart to jump into this vicious circle of seeking external justification.

Share the incidents where you tried to seek justification from someone?

We all know its hard to change someone’s mind but reality is – Its equally hard to change our own mind.

 

Honor killings are the one example of our adamant behaviors- Self-justification keeps them holding onto foolish beliefs even when all the evidence in the world is pointing to the opposite direction. A practice that makes no sense at all to outsiders makes perfect sense when seen through the lens of dissonance theory.

Vegetarians and their counterparts use this theory.

Followers of Superstitions in the name of tradition follow this theory.

Each one of us imply this theory at various stages of life and escape from the truth.

Become self-aware and you will realize from how long you have been lying to yourself in the name of safeguarding Ego.

 

Though sometimes Self justification is not bad. It allow us to be peace with ourselves and devoid ourselves from the vicious circle of guilt and embarrassment. But it should not be permanent rather transient.

I am glad I got to know about this and I am ready to change. Are you?

Few quotes on Justification- https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/justification

 

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  • Melissa Ruddy

    This is so true. I was also a justification seeker. No matter what anyone told me I had to prove my views we’re sound and I was right. I had to make you see my side. Why did I do this? Fear that I did or said the wrong thing. That I acted hastily. That someone might notice my mistake. It took a long time and much greater self awareness to realize when I did this. But it is so much more freeing to let it go.

    • I know Melissa, it feels so light at heart when you just accept yourself and do not seek the approval.Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. We shared the same boat but I think we won the half battle when we decided to change. Isnt’t it? Could not find your blog link in disqus profile.

  • krishnamoorthy Simon

    Very well said…
    We assume that whatever we know to be right. We mostly never look at it like “What if it is not true” angle..
    Its called middle path in spirituality… which is most ignored by most of us…

    well written Upasna… Kudos…

    • Is it. I would want to explore more about this middle path. Thanks for enlightening us. Hope to see you often here.Do you write?

  • Manisha Garg

    We all need reality check for ourselves…

    • Ya, rightly said Manisha- reality check. I think once in a day.

  • Dashy

    The justification of our wrong doing is something we all do, and hard to overcome. From small petty things to the widely practiced customs in the society this issue of not accepting our mistakes exists. I remember having a fight with my friend wherein both of us were wrong in a way, and we had gone around justifying our stance in the argument. But eventually an apology and acceptance from both sides solved the issue. Thos is great food for thought with very apt quotes Upasna.

    • Lovely..You chose the shortest path to happiness- acceptance. Thanks for taking time to share your experiences Dashy. It matters to me a lot.

  • Vishal Bheeroo

    Upasna you reminded me to chuck out this bad habit of self justification to seek approval from others and something I need to change. You’ve assessed the whole issue in detail.

    • Thanks Vishal. I am glad if someone can relate to it and pledge to let go off this not-so-good habit.

  • This need to seek approval from others, to please others, to appease others, ro become popular, to be liked by all, to be seen as a good person by others etc – is the cause of so many emotional/psychological problems. In our Indian tradition it is also known as ‘lokvasana’, a kind of desire emanating from an acute sense of ego, and which must be controlled and gradually eliminated if we want to be free in mind and heart. So yes it is very important to slowly work on this desire seated deep inside us. And recognising when we are seeking approval and justification from others can be an important first step.
    Good post, Upasna.

    • Thanks Beloo Mam for the thoughtful comment. I am working on it persistently now.