Stop Justifying

Justification is what you do when you rationalize or create a reason for your anger and unhappiness. You tell yourself, and whoever else will listen, how badly you were treated and how dreadfully the other person behaved. You continually rehash the situation in your mind. You repeat all the reasons you have for being upset. Each time you think of the person or situation, you become angry. You feel entitled to your anger, as if you have paid a high price for it, especially since, in your estimation, you were such a good and virtuous person.

The way you short-circuit the natural tendency toward justification and rationalization is by refusing to engage in it. Instead, you stop justifying. You use your marvelous mind to think of reasons not to justify your negative emotions. Remember, your negative emotions do you no good. They are totally destructive. They do not affect the other person or change the situation. They simply undermine your happiness and self-confidence, making you weaker and less effective in other areas of your life.

Instead of justifying your anger and unhappiness, you should use your intelligence and imagination to excuse the other person, or to let go of the unhappy situation. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of becoming angry, you say, "Well, I'd better be more careful next time," "I guess he is having a bad day," or "He must be late for an important appointment."

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