Categories of justifications

Justifications fall succinctly and unerringly into three categories:

         Fear-based Justifications

         Shame-based Justifications

         Motivation-based Justifications

Justifications based on fear tend to revolve around relationships, jobs, and any sort of expectation-based work you perform.  When you fail at or fail to achieve a goal, justifications shore up your self-esteem and hide your fear so you need not face it.  At least not until Judgment Day.

If you find yourself using justifications for sex, money, and the use of addictive substances, you'll be happy to know that these are most likely shame-based.  For example, if you have a drinking problem and fin yourself saying things like "I'm not drinking!  Itís only beer!", understand that is a shame-based justification.

The third type should actually be called "Motivation-less-based" but that has too many hyphens, itís difficult to pronounce, and itís not really a word.  Let's just say that justifications falling into this category tend to do with a lack of motivation.

One should hold this three tier system loosely.  A fear-based justification can and perhaps will contain an element of shame, much the same as shame-based justifications contain an element of fear.  And far too often our motivations are shaped by either fear or shame or both.

In addition, each of these categories has a type.  These types are:

         Self justifications

         Collective justifications, and

         Third party justifications

A self justification is a justification you use in private speech.  You know, when you're talking to yourself.

A collective justification is one you share with one or more people.  They usually start with the word "We," as in "We don't do that sort of thing."  This collective justification sounds awfully superior and asserts that you and the group or couple you belong to has a clearly defined moral code.  But is that why you are refusing to do X - because you don't do that sort of thing - or is there a deeper truth motivating you?  Perhaps one that involves your sense of fear and/or shame?  Think about it.

Third party justifications are those things we say about another to excuse his/her rude, violent, thoughtless, embarrassing, ridiculous, and/or destructive behavior.  "He's having a bad day" is one such justification, which perhaps glosses over (ie. deceives others about) the fact that most of his days are bad, that it is painful to live with his wild mood swings, his angry outbursts, and his unpredictability, but you're too lazy, too frightened, or too addicted to the relationship to attempt proactive measures to mitigate the behavior or end the relationship.





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