the need to justify

As I’ve been exploring the idea (ahem, fact) that I am the ultimate creator of my life experiences, I’ve become more aware of my habit of justification.

In my last post, I wrote about my tendency to seek the permission of others when making life decisions.  I’m noticing that in giving others authority, there is underlying need to justify myself and my actions…a sense that I must explain why I want something, my motivation for doing it, and why I’m deserving of it.

I haven’t let myself just want what I want.

new dawn

When we constantly justify why we want something, we’re saying that our own reasons for wanting it aren’t enough (or aren’t ‘good’ enough).  We thus have to show why we want certain things.  We have to prove why it should come to us, why we are worthy of it.  We have to work hard for what we want, so that others (god/the universe/whoever) can see that we’re serious about wanting it.

And it’s not enough that we just say this once.  No.  We have to keep repeating it, just in case the universe forgets, or thinks we don’t really want it.

The emphasis is on the doing over the being.

Once I became aware of it, I saw the need to justify operating everywhere in my daily life.  It’s at work, when someone requests something I’m not able to do.  Or in personal relationships, when I’m invited to something I’m not interested in.  A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on my part won’t do; I must offer an explanation of why I can’t do it – and often after much careful deliberation of my words.

Underneath my need to explain there has been fear of what others will think, if I don’t do what they want.  Fear of disapproval.  The logic is – if I explain myself well enough, they won’t be upset or think negatively of me.   Their opinion of me affects my opinion of myself.

All this is so exhausting.

It’s so much wasted effort to prove ourselves and our motivations to others.  It’s disheartening.  It drains the spirit.  We’re essentially telling ourselves that our own approval isn’t enough; that we need external sanction before we let ourselves move forward.  But is this really moving forward?

When you’ve gone through life explaining yourself, it can feel challenging to break this pattern.  One question I’ve struggled with is, How can I change the rules at this stage of the game?  How will others react if my behaviour suddenly changes?

But who’s to say that this change must be negative?   In fact, the opposite is true. While playing ‘nice’ may appear to keep some people comfortable, it’s not in integrity.  When I am not true to myself, resentment builds up.   It only gets stronger and louder as I stifle my inner voice.  And then I project it onto others – regardless of what’s on the outside.  They perceive what’s underneath.

Imagine how much tension, holding, and resistance is created in the body when we need to constantly justify ourselves. And how good it feels to surrender it all.  To breathe. To release. To infuse the process of creation with more lightness and fun.  To give ourselves a break!


I am ready for a new way.  One that lets myself want what I want, knowing that I am intrinsically worthy of whatever it is that I want.  That no other explanation is necessary.  Trusting that spirit knows what’s in my heart, and that’s all that’s needed to help me achieve it.  So I can start to relax, and let go of the effort in trying so hard.

While I don’t believe it has to take months or years or lifetimes to achieve this – change can happen in an instant – authenticity is key, as I evolve my thinking and being.  This means savouring the process of transformation, whether it comes quickly or is taking more time than I’d like.  Feeling every cell of my body adapt to this new way. It can be a delicious feeling, if I let it.

I also want to say a big thank-you to all those amazing bloggers out there who are having similar experiences…who have written about their own processes, and have left such inspiring comments here.  We are all learning from each other, and it’s truly awesome what’s going on.


22 thoughts on “the need to justify

  1. The old “Disease to Please”. I used to have that. I heard Oprah in an interview with Gary Zukav explaining how his chapter on Intention in Seat of the Soul cured her of the dreaded Disease to Please, and that did it for me too. Asking yourself, “is this something I really want to give my time and attention to” gives you the truest yes or no to doing something asked of you.

    But then I developed a new version of the disease. As I studied spirituality in various forms the talk of “being of service” and “helping others” and it is “only in giving that we receive” led me down a path of giving myself to so many things I didn’t have time for me and the things I wanted to do. And it made me very angry. My wake up call came when I entered into helping a friend with her business so much that it blatantly, literally, and figuratively, robbed me. I quit that cold turkey then and there.

    The being of service, helping others, and giving-receiving is all true, but it has be through your soul’s goals. It has to be through soul-intention and feel like it’s filling you up to do it, not draining you. So now I’m very careful about what I give my time and attention to. We betray ourselves when we give out of alignment with our intention.

    You are a beautiful spirit, you are worthy of happiness, and it is your birth right. Trust you. 🙂



      • TOTALLY get what you’re saying and you’re right on about the spirituality aspect of it. ‘if i say no to this person, then “no” is what goes out to the universe and comes back to me’, or ‘how can i be spiritual if i’m ignoring someone in need’? it’s all so draining. so we give our energy, and then as you say we become angry, when we’re the ones who acted out of integrity in the first place! none of this is intentional of course, but it’s what happens. and so for the sake of our sanity and health we need to start saying no and get through that really sticky part of it, till it becomes easier and we see the benefits for ourselves and on others. and then we can give in alignment with our soul and we’re always replenished because we’re being true.
        thank you for your always wise words my dear!!


        • Yeah, in the Law of Divine Compensation, there’s a portion about this very phenomenon and how sometimes the loving answer is NO. I thought ahhhhh, of course.

          We put too much pressure on ourselves. Sometimes it’s just not our place to give, sometimes it IS someone else’s place to give, or sometimes it’s a lesson for the other person who really needed to hear NO.

          Just have to follow that internal compass even if we fall off the course from time to time 😉


            • Yep, I lead a study on it earlier this year in my Crossroads group at church. It was really out of the box for them, but it was very well received! I have to say, I totally loved it, but since studying Abraham, i “get it” on a whole new level now. Since you study Abraham also, I think it’ll really blow your mind too 🙂


  2. This helped me understand some of my own thoughts, as you know I blogged recently too. Thank you for sharing your perspective. What a great universal thought, to approve of ourselves!


  3. Great expression of thoughts and perspective. Ultimately, we are choosing how we want to be influenced. It’s a moment to moment diligence. If our awareness of the moment slips, we those undesired influences are waiting. Finally we have to ask that question: How do I influence others, in both my thought and actions?


    • it does require diligence to watch our thoughts and habitual reactions as our new way of responding becomes stronger and more automatic. true influence on others doesn’t even require words or force…it’s a sense of being (being comfortable with ourselves), with no desire to be ‘right’ or prove or defend, that others can sense on a much deeper, real level. thank you for your comment.


  4. A honest post, I would say. We are people pleaser’s naturally. May be it started from childhood. Trying to please a bossy brother, or a mother or a cousin, or a mother-in-law. In some families if you want stay in par with what’s going on, a situation arises where you keep on pleasing your brothers and sisters, and as years run by you have forgotten about yourself. A mere ” shadow” of you exists in your mind, and pleasing becomes the order of the day, pleasing everyone in the office to the grocery store. Suddenly you become enlightened like the Buddha, and say enough is enough. Then we start exploring the whole new “YOU”. This is what the tennis ace
    Maria Sharapova has to say.
    “I can’t please everyone. That’s not in my J.D., you know, not in my job description.”


    • this is so true! i can see that this pattern started quite young and has just continued, unquestioned. until it has become really uncomfortable…and change is necessary for my heath and well-being. i like the idea of life taking a new direction, the new me, as i explore who i really am. and even if it’s uncomfortable (for me or others), ultimately it’s the very best thing that can happen for everyone. thank you for you comment! aleya


  5. This too exhausted me until I collapsed last year, and the universe made me stop for three months…I was that ill. My sister recently told me “live un-apologetically” something I’m embracing. I’ve noticed it’s become easier and I’m not defending myself. If an explanation is necessary, I inhale, pause, and make sure my intention is not to communicate from defense. This has helped.
    Thank you for yet another amazing post!


    • that’s how i’m feeling…like if i don’t pay attention to what i’m being shown, i could become even more exhausted down the line. and i don’t want that to happen. and defending is exactly what happens when i’m not clear on my own boundaries. it’s been a false sense of strength; my automatic response when i’m feeling threatened (ie not strong within). thankfully, with time it has also become easier for me to notice it and catch it before it happens. 🙂 thank you again for sharing here…aleya


  6. I love this x a work colleague and I had an ongoing ‘joke’ as I was constantly justifying everything! Then I said I was going to stop justifying so we would always be watching me to see when I slipped into justification x I love how you relate this to the universe it’s great x just allowing yourself to want want you want and that’s ok and not having to work so hard x The first month I quit my job I had to do a lot of work around feeling guilty and its still there x even today I was imagining my neighbours scorn of me as I lay in the garden and she went off to her job x I keep having to remind myself its all ok x this is my life x i don’t have to work or struggle or justify x Your article is a very good reminder x thank you x


    • that’s the thing – when we’re so used to justifying, it becomes a habit we don’t even think about, and we just do it!! i really watch myself now, esp at work. i get annoyed by certain requests…but is it the request i’m annoyed by, or my difficulty being direct in saying ‘no’? hmmm.

      i think it’s great that you left a job that wasn’t working for you. that can be tough to do when surrounded by people who go through the motions every day. i’m can relate to how that feels, as i’m leaving my job soon. but when the growth stops, it’s time to move on. i must remember that. thank you for your comment! aleya


  7. Funny coincidence… An unconventional soul friend of mine told me today ‘never apologize, never explain, yes or no is sufficient’. But I still tried to explain:) So he said ‘when you explain you are so not authentic’. Thats where I lost him hahaha


    • haha…love it! it’s funny because there are people in my life who don’t explain themselves. they really know they don’t have to, and it’s ok. it’s simple and direct, and their self-acceptance comes across. i like that. 🙂


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