The dog ate my homework!
Have you ever tried to call an excuse a reason? Reasons are real right? Valid, logical facts that can’t be disputed, right? Excuses are just expressions of fear, lame rationalisations at best, grounded in emotion not logic, right?
Or maybe wrong? Well about the reasons anyway. Confused?
You see I think that I find reasons for doing some things, but usually not doing things, that are little more than excuses. And right now I’m calling myself on it.
I got into the habit of relying on wine to relax and now I’m in the midst of breaking it (I won’t label it a bad habit, but let’s face it, I should). I rationalised (as in excused myself) that work and the kids keep me busy and make me stressed (as in drive me crazy sometimes) and the only way I could possibly get through Witching Hour was with wine (perfectly reasonable, right?). As Miss Yin says ‘I want too much peace’!
Witching Hour often extended into the evening and I absolved myself of any reproach because the kids were still getting fed, bathed, put to bed, read books, sung songs to (well the last two most of the time). And so I found myself unwinding with wine a little more liberally than I should have. And let’s face it, when you have a couple, or a few glasses of wine you get pretty lazy, unmotivated, unhealthy – but it’s just relaxing, right?
The reasons I had to enjoy a glass of wine (to unwind, be social etc) had morphed into excuses to justify drinking too often, and often, too much. And whilst I’ve been trying to fit in yoga at least a couple of nights a week, thus avoiding temptation, I’d started to forget what it felt like to relax at home without a drink in hand.
So twelve days in (this is sounding a bit like an AA admission), I’m definitely feeling like I’ve broken the habit of wine o’clock – I haven’t had a drink at all, and neither has Mr Yang. We plan to stay sober until Easter. No excuses.
I’m still, however, using time, or lack there-of as an excuse – who doesn’t? It’s a reason not to do the housework , not to finish that pile of filing in the office, not to exercise more etcetera, etcetera. An excuse not to get more committed to blogging and to trying to create a business out of some of the ideas I have. And of course there’s a very valid reason why I shouldn’t try my business ideas anyway – others, lots of people, are already doing similar things – what could I possibly do differently or better, what contribution could I possibly make? Or is that just an excuse, fear masquerading as logic?
When I look back on my life, honestly, I see a litany of excuses dressed up as reasons. I had real reason to be angry, upset, scared when we were going through infertility, and I’m not saying that we should deny our feelings nor feel guilty because of them (because I’m an expert at guilt). But I also know that I let those valid (if not really helpful) feelings excuse my jealousy (which was insane at times). And then I let that jealousy fuel (and excuse) my guilt, when I should have just forgiven myself, moved on, tried harder, rather than stewing in my shame.
So now I’m calling myself on making excuses to justify what I do, or what I don’t want to do. I’m making myself think hard about the real reasons to do things with purpose and confidence or to not do things with acceptance and grace.
While reasons can be impulsive sometimes, they generally prompt some sort of action, and if they don’t, it’s because it makes sense to be passive, to allow things to unfold.
Excuses, on the other hand, generally mean avoidance of action, running away, and when we use an excuse to be passive, it’s generally about giving up, giving into fear.
The truth is that excuses are just figments of our fears even when we try to disguise them as reasons.
In the end, there is never an excuse for an excuse. There is only reason and all else is fear, guilt and shame.
So let’s be honest with ourselves and start acting on the reasons why, and stop pretending there are reasons why not.
No excuses right?