One of the most fascinating things in the world is how impressively good people are at lying to themselves.
Humans are masters of rationalization (myself most certainly included).
“It’s ok to eat that whole cake–I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes this morning.”
“It’s ok to spend money I don’t have–I should be getting a bonus soon.”
“It’s ok to buy the latest, greatest whatever–my current one is going to die soon anyway.”
Some of these lies are worse than others. But we rarely admit to ourselves that we’re lying. We turn our backs on truth and logic. Instead of facing truth or guilt head on, we rationalize.
What is Rationalization?
Here’s a definition snagged from everyone’s favorite encyclopedia, Wikipedia. In parenthesis on the page next to rationalization it actually says “making excuses.” That’s awfully clear. But here’s a fuller definition:
Rationalization is…a defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner in order to avoid any true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable – or even admirable and superior – by plausible means.
Essentially, it’s forcing illogical things into a logical box. We twist and turn, prod and poke until something that was once irrational becomes not just acceptable but perhaps even admirable in our own minds. Click to continue