I’ll put it straight; if you love what you do (or at the very least, like it) you don’t have to explain what you do to anyone. If you’re working on something: perhaps a creative project, a side gig, teaching yoga as is my case…or god forbid you want to become a writer, etc, then congratulations you are following your inner guidance and (probably) avoiding a life of eternal suffering in the job you never wanted.
Do you find yourself feeling the need to justify your choices again and again; to grandma who always wanted you to become a lawyer (no offence to the lawyers reading this), your friends and/or most importantly yourself?
Unless you’re actually a lawyer you’re likely justifying your actions over and over again because you feel like they aren’t good enough, or more so…that you aren’t good enough. Now, not good enough could be broken down into many self-demonising thought patterns. For instance:
I’m socially unacceptable, i.e not mainstream enough,
I’m wrong, i.e you’re intentionally lying (feeling guilty?) or you feel like you’re just not doing it properly,
I have sky-high self-expectations, i.e I’m never enough no matter what I do.
The other week I was teaching my yoga class 2 days upon returning from my last yoga teacher training. The training was for graduate teachers (for my yogi readers it was a 300hr training to give me RYT 500hr certification) so it was quite a big deal in my career as a yoga teacher. Safe to say after a few “can’t wait to see what you’ve learned” comments from eager students, I had performance anxiety. ‘Oh shit, now I have to be even better straight off the back of my last training’. So what does one do when they’re feeling vulnerable? Justify their actions…naturally.
Midway through the class after many verbalised justifications (which I didn’t realise I was doing), one of my regular students simply said: “Andrew…it’s fine”. After my initial ‘I need to diarrhea now after that humiliating comment’ thought quickly came and went I responded with “Thank you. I needed that”. The truth is, I did need to hear it. My student was trying to reassure me that I was enough, that I was doing enough, and that I wasn’t shit despite my sky-high expectations. He also helped me realise that I was verifying each yoga pose I offered out of fear that I wasn’t meeting expectations (the students or my own). I wasn’t owning what I was offering.I was questioning it constantly.
I soon realised that I not only do this in the micro context (like my class) but also the macro. I’m constantly justifying what I do to people throughout my life because I feel uneasy about it. My self-doubt becomes the words I say that reassure my mind with sweet sweet justifications.
Then there’s also Gerard (I’ve changed his name to Gerard because I don’t want him to read this and then be like “…that dick)”. Gerard is a bit of a compulsive liar. I don’t think he does it on purpose (well, at least not always) but he’s become a habitual white liar/ exaggerator. Gerard always justifies his actions. He always creates stories to explain away his pretty little lies. For Gerard, it’s the “I’m wrong” thought-pattern that’s creating the justifying. He has to convince himself (as well as me) that what he’s saying is true.
The reason I’m bringing up Gerard is not to suggest that you’re a big ol’ liar but rather to segway into the idea that you could be self-justifying because you’re lying to yourself about what you want. “Oh I can’t do that because I need to do this instead, and this is good for me due to these reasons” or “yeah this is what will make me happy because it’s stable”. They’re just examples. Don’t worry this is not an attack. However, I invite you to watch for when you’re self-consoling with justifications because you’re likely trying to validate a decision that is taking you away from what you truly desire behind your fear, comfort zone or laziness. Disclaimer: I’m so, so guilty here. The mind will try and keep you in that bubble of comfort. It’s not a sin, but it is something we can overcome.
If you’ve made it this far then I would like to offer you a summary. If you’re following your heart’s desire, and you’re consistently showing up (to whatever extent that means for you) then stop justifying. It’s time to own your shit. It’s time to back who you are, what you do, or how you live. If you’re working on something or cultivating an offering to your community start to notice when self doubt leads you to start justifying the validity behind that offering, rather than just repping it boldly.
I’ve decided that I’m never going to explain away my choices or my offerings again. Instead, I’m owning them as much as I can.
For guidance on how to stop listening to your BS thoughts you can read my blog post here. It’s conveniently titled “How to stop listening to your BS thoughts”. Your thoughts become your words.
Namaste for now,