You Harm Yourself with Excuses

How easy is it to make excuses? Any honest person would have to admit that they make excuses every day, and often multiple times a day, because that is often the easiest option in a situation. Why were you late to work? Traffic was bad. Why didn’t you take out the trash? Oh, I thought about it, but then I got distracted by this other thing and forgot.

Excuses are our way of preserving our ego from admitting failure. We use them to paint over our faults and excuse ourselves of blame. Sometimes we even do this over more consequential and ongoing issues in our lives. Why can’t we make meaningful emotional connections to others? Well, my parents didn’t hug me enough. Why did you cheat on your wife? Because she wasn’t having sex with me as much as I would like. Why do you drink yourself to blackouts every night? I’m under a lot of stress.

We excuse away all of our bad traits and behaviors so we can still tell ourselves that we are good people and that all of our problems are the faults of others. While this seems easy, meaningless, and sometimes justified absolving yourself of your faults does you more damage than you can understand.

Each of us is an individual who makes decisions in our lives. Those decisions shape the course of our existence. All of our success and failures stem from these decisions. If we discount the decisions that make up our failures we immediately discount those decisions that made us successful. By making excuses and refusing to live up to your faults and failures, you remove from yourself all agency.

Many people smarter than myself have stated that a person’s happiness and wellbeing are directly linked to their belief that they have agency in their lives. Therefore, refusing to face the darker parts of yourself that make mistakes on a regular basis, you are also defeating the brightest parts of yourself that have allowed you to succeed to whatever level you have in your life. You can only do this so long before you find yourself incapable of believing that you control your own destiny at all.

The best part of this message is, while looking at your faults honestly is painful and difficult, when you do this the strong parts of you only get stronger. Being honest about your faults is like weightlifting for the soul. And just like a real gym, only you can make the decision to go in and do the hard work. If I may be a little lame and quote lyrics from a mid-2000’s song to prove my point; Allow me to remind you of the words of Incubus…

“Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear

And I, I can’t help but ask myself

How much I let the fear take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before

And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal

But lately I’m

Beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel.”

Drive by Incubus


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