Author: Ann Schiebert
What are excuses? They are reasons for not keeping commitments either to others or to one’s self. Excuses create a lose/lose situation for everyone involved in a broken promise, and they evoke resentments. Excuses try to make right, the disappointment of the recipient of the excuse.
Excuses don’t repair a situation. They leave it unhealed. Excuses are rationalizations for not following through on one’s commitment. Excuses keep us in our Reality Distortion Systems. For example, if I make a promise to myself to begin an exercise program to decrease my weight, and on the start date I tell myself, "I’ll do it tomorrow," that excuse simply keeps me doing what I’ve been doing…..watching TV instead of going for a walk. And it enables our sedentary lifestyle to continue and keeps in place the belief, "I don’t really need to or want to exercise because, "I’m too tired!"
When we accept some one’s excuses, they go into the, "OK Corral." Let’s examine a common excuse: "I’m sorry I was so late, I got a last minute phone call and couldn’t get off the phone." Now, if this happens once, we might have a discussion about how being prompt is important to us, and how being late without a call to advise us of the situation, is upsetting. We have said something! It isn’t in the, "OK Corral." But many of us are conflict avoidant and don’t want to, "stir things up." If we ignore our feelings about not liking people to be late without calling, then we have enabled an uncomfortable situation which then enters the, "OK Corral."
There are many valid reasons why people can’t keep commitments. We still get to comment and relate our feelings about the excuses. We still get to request how we would like to be notified if a promise can’t be kept.
Do your own excuse inventory. Examine how your excuses keep you from moving forward in your life – out of your RDS to your RCS! Doing that exercise with honesty will help move you forward.