Rationalization – dealing with disappointment, fury, or hurt feelings over an unbearable situation by covering them with convoluted, self-serving, and often seemingly logical excuses.
We rationalize in 3 main scenarios:
- When something has been done to us that we cannot bring ourselves to confront.
- When we have done something to ourselves that is too embarrassing or tough to accept.
- When we have done something to others that we can’t face taking responsibility for.
Exercise: For one week keep a list of all the excuses we make in a day. Then review the list and look to see what areas of we don’t want to confront. What are the consequences if we don’t confront them, and what are the consequences if we do confront them?
LIE – Listen, Interrupt, and Experience
Listen – Pay attention to any common rationalization phrases we use such as
- I don’t care.
- It’s no big deal.
- I didn’t want it anyway.
- It’s not my fault.
- It has nothing to do with me.
Interrupt – When we hear ourselves saying these statements, interrupt them in mid-think and change them.
- I do care.
- It is a big deal.
- I did want it.
- I screwed up.
- It has everything to do with me.
Experience – Face reactions when we feel loss or embarrassment.
Using rationalization is unsatisfying and is a strategy for knocking down our hopes and dreams. Rationalization is a way of moving on without realizing what we are moving on from without considering what we are losing. Theses rationalizations shield our heart from our real desires.
Cite: Kagan, M. and Einbund, N. Defenders of the Heart. (2008). Carlsbad, Ca. Hay House, Inc.