Why I don’t like to use the word “excuses”

I used to think that people stay where they are because of excuses

…until one day in my mid-twenties when I felt completely stuck and helpless.

On that day, my brain failed me. All my intelligence left me. I couldn’t think my way out of my circumstance – I couldn’t understand why there was a void in my heart when every box I thought I wanted ticked was ticked. 

I understood then that what I thought were excuses were simply a subcategory of limitations, coming from the Everyone Else Mindset. They aren’t pretending there’s a barrier between them and what they want—they actually see a barrier there, and they can’t perceive a way over or around it.

Most of the time, these “excuses” are not excuses for the person not to grow and evolve. They are reasons for them to stay safe and comfortable where they are. A shift for them might be far bigger and take far more effort than you realize.

Maybe in order for them to fully express themselves and realize their goals…

… they need to change their circle of friends

… or leave their partner

… or defy their parents

… or something else that is just as difficult

Maybe what you would call an “excuse” is simply something that protects their Now.

It is a very disempowering word, and a fear-based way of driving people to change. It makes people feel ashamed of their Now, rather than simply aware of their Now, and it is not a sustainable approach. That fear and shame leads to an increased need to prove oneself, overcompensate, and eventually burn out.

Instead, let’s come from a place of compassion. Let’s look at the whole story, the bigger picture, and do what we can to help them feel safe to make the shifts that will take them where they want to go.