A teacher friend of mine will never admit he doesn't know the answer to questions asked of him. I don't know for certain, but I think it may be difficult for him to say "I don't know" out loud. Maybe this is because in his role as a teacher he is accustomed to always having answers for his students in the classroom. But, outside of the classroom, it is his habit is give outlandish answers to questions whenever asked about something he doesn't know about. There's no real harm because few people would ever believe his bizarre answers, which are ridiculously absurd and often hilarious. He can be so funny! Although, on a few occasions he has managed to trick gullible questioners into buying into his tall tales.
Harmless White LiesI once had a busybody neighbor who loved to quiz me about "my business." Rather than snub my nosy inquisitor I would have a bit of fun with her by giving her juicy tidbits of information that I would make up. Where I had spent the weekend or how much I paid for my new car was none of her business. I did not feel any guilt in feeding her lines. Sometimes, she would raise her eyebrow and give me a dour look that indicated that she thought I was a phony. I knew she wasn't believing me. But, I didn't care. The whole point in giving her lame responses was to get her to quit asking probing questions.
Who says we must come completely clean anyway? Where's the harm in telling half-truths or fabricating stories? Being playful with friends or flippant with nosy neighbors by making up stories is pretty harmless. But, being a chronic excuse maker in the workplace or in your relationships is a whole other can of worms. Excuses generally are merely a ploy for shirking duties or avoiding unpleasant situations. Are your excuses getting in the way of leading a responsible life, attaining your goals, or securing that job promotion? Think about it.
Why Do We Make Excuses?If you are someone who is a habitual excuse maker it might be a good idea to ask yourself why you deliberately choose to be less than truthful. Do you fear the scrutiny of friends, family, or coworkers? Are you uncomfortable with opening yourself up to others? Sometimes, making up a lame excuse to avoid attending a social event is done for self-preservation. Are you afraid your attendance would make you feel inadequate, vulnerable, or foolish?
Are your excuses meant to inflate your worthiness in the eyes of others? Ego does play a factor in habitual excuse making. However, indulging in ego-boosting through excuse making will likely have the reverse result: deflated personal self-worth. You can trick others into believing a lie, but convincing yourself is not as easy. Or is it? If you tell a lie convincingly enough and you get away with it you may also begin believing it yourself. It's true. Overtime, an excuse-maker will start buying into his own cons and, as a result, live a lie.
How Does it Feel Being Dishonest?The reason why we make excuses is probably not as important as the "feeling" associated with being less than honest. Excuses are meant to hide our shortcomings or give a better light to our failures. Everyone gets that. We can all justify our reasons for making excuses. But, how does it feel having been deceitful? If it doesn't feel good, time to change your habit of making excuses. Also, if making excuses gives you a false sense of euphoria, that's not good either.
Stop Making ExcusesChanging deceptive behaviors can be a little tricky for the chronic excuse maker. Twisting the truth becomes a way of life, almost an art form. Whenever excuses are found out to be erroneous, instead of giving a sincere apology for being untruthful the person will attempt to craft a creative non-apology (another excuse) that just adds to the original deception. This is called "digging yourself into a deeper hole." Oh boy!
Taking responsibility for your actions is the grown-up thing to do. Admitting your failures and accepting that you are not perfect may be hard to swallow at first. But, as you stop making excuses for yourself, you will soon realize how emotionally freeing your life can be. I know it is cliché - but "Honesty (really) is the best policy."
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