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Justifying your own behavior to yourself is the key warning sign that you’re breaching your core values. This is when you feel you must explain to yourself why your current or upcoming decisions are OK.
It’s like when you say to yourself, “Well I’ve had a hard day, so I deserve this chocolate cake”.
Why do you need to say it if eating the chocolate cake is the right thing for you to do? Why do you need to come up with this story that relieves your guilt? Why do you feel bad about doing it the next day?
These are all signs that you’re not doing the right thing.
I learned about this when rehabilitating criminal offenders. I’d originally expected them to be remorseless and unapologetic, but was surprised to find that they’d often desperately try to justify their offending to me.
They nearly always had a “good” reason for breaking the law and hurting others. And they seemed to need this reason to live with themselves after what they’d done.
There’s a little trick you can do to deal with this.
Before you make a decision, you tell yourself that you’re allowed to do whatever you like, but you must first ask yourself this question:
“Would this align with my core values?”
It doesn’t matter what you do next, but if it’s the wrong thing to do you’ll bring the guilt forward to the current moment, the guilt you would usually experience the next day when it’s too late.
And then you might be able to steer yourself back on track.
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