Is there a difference between excuses and explanations? In this post, we explore how excuses can impact wellness, career and thus hold us back from reaching full potential. Are you prone to making excuses? The habit makes other people think of you as not trustworthy, nor want invest time in taking a cause further. When you make excuses to yourself, you open up the road for guilt trips and create a sense of low self-worth. Let’s see how to turn excuses into explanations to reach a higher level of wellness, clarity, motivation, and trustworthiness. Read on to find out more, and feel free to comment, share and like on social media.
Excuses and Explanations Defined
The issue with excuses is that they can hold you back, prevent you from results and also impact how others view you. If you are looking for a career move, promotion or reaching a new level of another wellness dimension excuses will go against you.
Many believe that they give an explanation, but an excuse is what comes out. It can be hard to distinguish between the two. The key difference is that while explanations clarify circumstances of a given event, excuses specifically focus on justifying a fault.
He who excuses himself accuses himself. Gabriel Meurier
Excuses versus Explanations
You can recognize an excuse by an often overload of words whereas an explanation is a fact-filled statement. Explanations carry less emotion than excuses and are far less pressured.
When we deal with situations or events that call for accountability or justification we tend to mix up the use of explanations and excuses.
We make excuses when we feel attacked, or perceive that we need to defend ourselves. In some cases, excuses are a habit and used as a preventative measure to avoid getting yelled at or seen in a bad light.
According to psychotherapist Jenise Harmon:
Excuses deny responsibility.
Excuses come from feelings of defensiveness that pop up when someone is feeling attacked.
Explanations allow for responsibility to be acknowledged, and the situation to be explored and understood.
Explanations occur when someone wants to be understood.
Excuses: Habit and Blame Game
Someone who is prone to give excuses, rather than explanations, is often looking to get out of responsibility. The excuses enable blame on ‘them, they, the others and other phenomena’ and deny the possibility of culpability of self.
The child who shouts: : “I didn’t do it – she did!” is not different from the adult who says: “ I wasn’t late – it was the train!” The difference however is that the adult often believes the excuse as being some sort of truth. This is particularly the case if someone is used to giving excuses.
If you tend to give excuses to others you will eventually be tangled up in half lies, and half-truths – which are very complicated to keep part. When you make excuses to yourself, you give up on fitness, healthier ways and that ’to-list’ becomes a guilt trip rather than a helpful tool.
Excuses: Why and Impact
Overall you are diminishing yourself and what you can – and could – be. Excuses on a deeper level create a false self. Over time the gap widens between who you are and who you can to be. Eventually, you lose touch with your real self, and that sets the stage for neurosis to develop, affecting both your mental and physical health.
It is common for someone who has grown up or live with, an emotionally charged person to prefer excuses over explanations. Excuses are easier as they place the blame on an external factor or person. The excuse is delivered as a measure to prevent a possible reaction that puts you in the line of fire.
Excuses promote low self-esteem and hinder career, lifestyle change, and personal development. There are several complex and interlocking reasons for lying, cheating, and fabricated excuse-making. The reason that these are a concern is not only because these behaviors get a person in trouble, but they are behaviors that keep a person from achieving maximum fulfillment.
Little White Lies
In some cultures, the habit of excuses is seen as more polite than speaking rationally about a fact. By finding something or someone to blame you shift the reaction towards this unseen event or person.
The issue is of course that excuses flirt with the truth, or are in fact lies. Little white lies tend not to be so white as they are after all a lie. These so-called ‘fibs’ have a tendency to boomerang back at you – and hence you are thought of as not trustworthy.
Explanations: The Turn-Around
What if you were to take the little everyday excuses to a workplace conversation? If you use an explanation instead the response can surprise you or even push you to new levels.
Imagine you were late for work one day. You come up with a fabulous excuse for that monster traffic, the dog who ate your phone, or alarm mishap etc. The reaction is likely: “Don’t give me an excuse. You are late! I will make sure that this will be part of my evaluation of you and no way will this lead to a promotion!”
If indeed you were to explain: ”I feel demotivated at work, couldn’t get out of bed, and ended up late” you may find that the boss stops in his/her tracks and rethinks the strategy. S/he may even say: “ Yes, I noticed you were late this morning. I am glad you acknowledge that you feel demotivated at work. Let’s work on getting you promoted this year. We will make a plan together and work on getting you to the next level.”
You would react with surprise, feel motivated and tackle your job in a different way, right? Of course, this takes a manager who has realized the value of real communication. Read on to see what I mean!
How To Encourage Explanations
The explanation opens doors to opportunities and a cleaner communication – where solutions to the demotivation become the central focus rather than the perceived trustworthiness.
If you are a manager, parent, trainer, coach or teacher you can undo an excuse by changing your reaction pattern. In a dialogue, two parties communicate. If you look for an explanation, you will have greater success if you respond with kindness, empathy, and respect. Yelling, threats and punishment will provoke more excuses in future, whereas finding a common ground for solving an issue together will encourage real explanations.
How Excuses Become Explanations
When looking to turn excuses into explanations you can consider this quote
Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims. Carlos Santana
Excuse Yourself First
It is too easy to say: OK – I will change my ways! That is a promise that you can only keep if you stop giving excuses to yourself first. Tip: Try the 30 day challenge!
Tony Robbins says, everyone has a list of ‘shoulds’ and they end up ‘shoulding’ all over themselves.
Hence, instead of saying” I should eat healthier, or I should set my alarm earlier” Say: I am choosing to eat healthily” or “I am now setting my alarm to 15 minutes earlier” I.e. don’t just say it – do it. Turn the ‘should’ to a ‘must’ if it helps – but the excuse gets killed the moment you act and do what you set out to do.
When you stop making excuses for yourself, you can forcefully take this to your everyday encounters and relationships. Take responsibility and revel in the positive reactions.
Check out these books from Amazon for more how to overcome the habit of excuses:
Reasons to Explain
By setting a new strategy to how to act, react and move forwards will allow you to recognize opportunities, talents, and skills within you. The habit of making excuses will fade away.
You will find the force to stand up for what you do, and for what you deserve. A new job, a healthier way of life and a whole ‘new you’ become enabled if you open the door to explanations.
- Excuses tend to focus on negatives: problems, regrets and things that don’t work.
- Explanations are about positives, solutions, opportunities, and things that do work.
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