Last week I read this post about justification. It really struck a cord with me and rather than leave the poor woman with a giant novel of a comment I decided to nut my thoughts out here. To give a little background on the post, she noticed that people are finding they have to justify their decisions on social media.
I justify my parenting decisions, a lot. I do it without even thinking about it. Some people must wonder what on earth I am on about when I start rattling off the reasons that I have made the decision that I have. This justification goes from the small things (like toast for dinner) all the way to the big stuff (like our decision to start melatonin). There is no middle ground.
The thing that worries me the most about this justification is that I find myself doing it to complete strangers. I spew out words about why I made a choice, as if it is any of their business anyway. I chastise myself afterwards, upset with myself that I once again failed to show conviction behind my choices.
Justification isn’t just said out loud to peole I am talking to. My inner dialogue is often one big stream of justification. It’s almost like I am waiting to get caught, waiting to have to explain my actions to someone, even when I am alone. It can be 3am and I’m getting a drink of water, still the justification dialogue is going. Who is going to stop me, really?
I know that this justification, in its extreme isn’t logical. I know that most people couldn’t give two shits about what other people are doing. I know that strangers opinions, hell anyone not walking in my shoes, don’t matter in the long run. I know all of these things and yet here I am, justifying everything.
This justification dialogue no doubt has a lot to do with my anxiety, my fear of failing. I want to show that I am ok, that I am good. I aim to please and feel rejected when my justifications aren’t enough.
Do you find yourself justifying your actions to those you encounter?
Well written and thanks for the mention. It’s a hard thing to stop doing isn’t it? x
Yes, I do – and like you, mostly to myself, in my own mind. It’s funny, with blogging and putting it all out there, I get people telling me ‘oh you are such a good mother’, but in my own mind, I’m pretty crap. It’s tough trying to stare down that negative internal dialogue.
I wonder if it’s part of the people pleasing gene in general? My hubster suffers from that.
Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to our feeling of needing to justify. I watched a not very nice post unfold on my facebook page yesterday in response to what I thought was a fairly innocent question on my blog’s page. What followed was a number of harsh and judgemental comments from women all attacking each other for their own choices about money and then each feeling the need to justify their position to total strangers. It was not nice and it has made me think about why we say what we do and why we feel the need to be able to give a reason for every part of our life. In some areas it is good but in many it is unhealthy and I am going to try and stop.
It’s so sad that we feel the need to do it although I think I am getting better, think it’s an age thing.
I go through stages. There is usually method in my online madness and for the most part I don’t feel like I need to justify myself unless asked. In real life, I’m constantly having to justify myself, especially with my eldest daughter at the moment when I’m drawing a line when it comes to outings and homework.
People will forever judge mostly for reasons only known to them. Learn to sit with you feelings of inadequacy and not react to them allow them to flow and pass but try not get caught up in the dialogue, It does not matter what matters is what you are actually doing in the physical world as a person. It takes practice but I believe the feelings of judgement can lessen.
Is there a line between justifying and informing? I find that my SIL feels the need to discuss our life to her Nan and which in turn comments get made all around the place about so many different things in regards to our choices. Turns out, my SIL who we see maybe once a month, usually once every few months and speak on the phone to about just as much, makes a lot of assumptions about our life and what our actual choices are. And when set straight, Nan has a whole new perspective. While I haven’t read the post about justification, but from the comments am gathering that people are trying to stop it, I have no intention of doing so. From what little part people see in my life, I have no issue in informing them of some things that are going on in our lives. I have absolutely no issue in justifying to my Nan why I had my son in daycare for 3 days a week, I also clarified that I didn’t drop him of at 7.00am and collect him at 6pm as she was told. I don’t know, I find that when I justify (I like to call it informing lol) a certain part of my life to people, that it gives them some insight. It allows them to take a little something away and perhaps realise (as if it isn’t obvious FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD) that we all have our own life, our own struggles, and our own choices to make. I think the difference is that I don’t care what these people think, and their opinion of my life doesn’t influence the choices I make, but I do think that I give out what I like to know about people. I don’t need to know your whole life story if you don’t want to tell it, but I will listen if you want to tell me. I really do like to know of the personal struggles that those around me are going through, I like to know that their child is not sleeping (well actually, I don’t like that it is happening, but I like to know that I won’t call them before lunch time, or ask them to meet up in the morning etc). I think I like when people open up and I like to hear the ups and downs in peoples lives, but not for them to feel the need to justify it to me. I want to know because I care about them and I would like to think that some people care to hear about the things going on in my life too. Maybe I am completely off track here but I don’t care. I think that if I am not in the company of those who I can share these things with then I am not in great company at all. I don’t want sympathy, it is just nice to be able to share. I guess I will continue to inform or justify. I have no problem with it. I think we have a problem when we have a little space which may either be online (fb etc) or our house, and we feel that we are unable to share whatever it is that we want to share with those people. I wish I could send a friend a message saying “this and this and this and this is happening and I feel really shitty right now”, and my friend could send back. “that is really shitty, I hope things start looking up soon for you. I’m here if you want to talk”. And I wish that I could just send back, “It’s all good, just wanted to share this with someone. Thanks for listening”. Is that wrong?
I justify to everyone, all the time. I do the same as you do, find myself spewing forth all this stuff to total strangers just so I feel better in my decisions only to feel terrible later for doing so. Not sure how to stop it though – it’s a lifelong thing for me…
I use to be guilty of this but not so much anymore. Especially with saying no to people. I always felt I needed to justify why. Something I never felt I needed to do with my girls. No just meant no and that pretty much was the end of it. It’s taken me years to do the same with everyone else.
Hubby is still working on this side of things. Our youngest was recently invited to a friends for the weekend. It was a no from me because it wasn’t sitting right and I really didn’t want or think I needed to justify my reasons. Hubby on the other hand felt like he needed to provide the parents with an excuse why our daughter couldn’t attend.