I have a hate-hate relationship with excuses. Anyone is capable of producing one but they have absolutely no value whatsoever. I’ve got a friend who’s got the best response I’ve ever heard to an excuse: “Well, if that’s what you believe, we’re done talking because there’s no moving you off of what’s got you down”. In other words, let’s say you’re depressed about your weight – fairly typical and not surprising in the least. The best way to combat weight is with diet and exercise, everyone knows this, but for some reason you’ve got an excuse, however good it may be, as to why you’re overweight… Say your mommy sat you on the toilet seat sideways and to compensate for learning to sit on the seat sideways you ate a lot.
When you strip away all of the BS you’ve got two choices:
Learn to lie to yourself (and everyone around you). Convince yourself that being fit and healthy really isn’t that important, that you’re destined to be fat and there are no two ways about it. Then compound that lie with another that it’s somehow society’s fault that there are people on this planet who find fat unattractive and therefore your perception of what society deems acceptable is what has you depressed. Then you can compound that with yet another lie that you don’t have the means to correct the problem – too little time, too much responsibility, whatever – take your pick. There is no recovering from that state of mind, it must be completely discarded – otherwise you’re hopelessly screwed until you die of a heart attack or diabetes. You might as well pop four more Hot Pockets in the microwave and watch some Oprah while you eat them and sip on a Diet Coke, promising yourself it’ll be better tomorrow (even though you never truly believe that).
To be a little more succinct, society doesn’t make one depressed about being fat. Looking in the mirror does that just fine – I ought to know. The way I see it, society is the scapegoat on which to place blame for the source of one’s discontent. Afterall, society doesn’t make one fat, nor does McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s or any of the others… Chewing on and swallowing too much food makes one fat. Not liking it or blaming the resulting depression on something or someone else can’t do anything to resolve the problem. The reasoning is completely faulty – as if all of a sudden a fat person would feel OK if being obese became socially acceptable. What a crock! How does that “look”? Exactly which set of outside circumstances must be met in order for one to change their inner emotions? Even if that were possible, wouldn’t the goal post change from person to person? Of course it would. The truth is nobody that isn’t in dire need of a psychiatrist’s couch truly gives a rip about what a nameless, faceless, society “thinks” as a collective whole because it’s utterly impossible to discern what that is. The truth is, the discontent – the depression is in us.
The other alternative is to realize that you’re lying to yourself and change. Is that easy? Of course not. Is it fun? Not always. It just is what it is.
This is why I hate excuses. Excuses are used to lock oneself into the tight little casket they’ve built for themselves in hopes that their locking themselves in a casket will be excused and forgiven, thereby making all of the bad feelings go away. Good luck with that.
Truth is, life isn’t easy for most of us. Wishing our lives away on some false perception of the way someone else lives can only end in misery. That last sentence is important, so allow me the dalliance of breaking it down a little bit. How many times have you heard someone talk about how easy another person “has it”? Hell, how often have you compared your life to someone elses, wishing yours were somehow more like theirs? I’ve done it – though long ago. There’s a flaw in the wish though… When we compare or contrast our life to someone else’s, by the very nature of the comparison, we’re required to fill in several blanks – holes in someone else’s existence that we can’t possibly know about:
So-and-so has enough money that they can do “x” so they must be supremely happy with their life. Nevermind the fact that the comparisson is silly and naive, let’s actually take a look at the mechanics of such a statement (or belief, because most people who believe such things are rarely willing to share them out loud). Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that I belive that my buddy Bob has a better life than I do because he and his wife have/make more money that I do. In order for me to believe this I have to contrast my insides – all of my emotional baggage and thoughts about how my life works – with his outsides, or the shell that he let’s the outside world see. His inside emotions are all blanks that I have to fill in based on my perception of his outsides, because I can’t possibly know what he’s feeling inside or how the sacrifices he must make to make that kind of money affect him.
Therein lies the rub. I have to fill in the context based on my imperfect perception of reality and when I do that, I always err on the side that he’s better than me. Therefore, the conclusion I would come up with is that he’s got a better life than I do… Every single time…and the whole process is based on flawed data entry.
This is why I hate excuses – they’re always based on the same flawed data entry. Some people are just better at spit shining a ball of crap to make it look pretty. This is the “why” of the statement; Happiness is an inside job. I had to fix my insides before I could accept the position, and to do that, I had to discard the excuses.
Good luck, it only hurts for a bit.