The bottom line: The topic for the May-in-June of 2021 monthly Tankespjärn-community Zoom-conversation was fittingly on the topic of excuses. If you want but one little nugget from a very rich conversation, why not try on “Observe yourself when you make or receive excuses. Note what feeling arise within you.” for size.
Funnily enough, the monthly Zoom for May didn’t take place during May. Possible excuse number one.
Then a day after setting the date, publishing the announcement on Patreon, I was (thank heavens!) informed I had double-booked myself. So I had to reschedule. Possible excuse number two.
What’s funny about this, you ask?
Well. It isn’t funny-haha-funny exactly, more slightly amusing or slight-pull-at-the-corner-of-the-mouth-funny. Because the topic I chose for the Zoom-conversation was excuses. It’s a rich topic, for sure, which the ninety minute conversation proved beyond any reasonable doubt. I could have kept going for hours, as the thoughts, insights and questions shared invited my mind to a multitude of possible exciting and intriguing paths to explore.
Now. It would be easy to say Stop with all excuses! and promptly fail miserably, because I think, for a lot of us, most even, potentially all, excuses are a quite normal part of everyday life. The risk I associate with that is to beat ourselves up when we notice we made an excuse, which, in my experience, definitely doesn’t help create new and serving habits. Which I would say stopping with the excuses is, honestly.
Better then to start to notice. When do I excuse myself? When do I do it internally, and when do I actually voice it to others? And why? What is it I want to avoid?
Because… isn’t avoidance an inherent part of excuses? Or?
A wish to avoid taking responsibility (No, I have never!), to protect myself or my reputation somehow (It wasn’t me, it was Larissa and Majid!), out of fear failing and of not measuring up (Sorry, I cannot take that on right now, I’m way too busy, when really, it’s an assignment that you feel unqualified for), or any number of possible situations.
What’s the emotional tail of the excuses you encounter, either because you’re the one excusing yourself, or because someone else is escaping them? Often, it’s embarrassment, but it might also be low self-esteem? Or possibly remnants of shoulding yourself?
A very valid point, one deserving special attention, is the difference between making excuses and having legitimate reasons. When I am taking responsibility for me by setting clear boundaries, others might perceive it as if I am excusing myself. What then? And what if I then, internally, mislabel what is healthy boundary-setting into me making excuses?
Which points to a question asked during the call, that I will turn into a statement:
Navigating through excuses (where your initial reaction is a desire to excuse yourself, but you step through it, giving it, whatever it is, an honest attempt) leads to a better understanding of yourself at your inner core.