Here’s a radical idea: give up all our excuses. Eliminate them. Cut them out of our lives. Strike a match and burn them.
What are excuses? Simply put, excuses are anything that we use to sabotage ourselves from being happy. I mean, living you dream lives, “Pinch me I must be dreaming” kind of happy.
Excuses are like a bandage: a really convenient way to feel temporarily good about ourselves in the absence of getting our shit together. We tell ourselves, “I have too much work—I’m far too busy to go to yoga class tonight.” And then our minds shut off and we no longer have to deal with the guilt of skipping out on yoga to finish the work we should have been doing when we were browsing through Facebook instead.
But that guilt exists for a reason—to remind us that despite our very important to-do lists and all of the deadlines that loom before us, we still need and deserve to lead balanced, healthy lives—which includes making the time to do what makes us feel good.
Excuses are insidious. They creep in from every direction, and we begin to live them out. We slap them all together and label them our stories. Here’s an excerpt from mine (cue violins, please):
I come from an immigrant family. My parents still have trouble with the English language, and couldn’t help me with my homework or help me navigate my formative years. I’ve been subject to racist remarks, many of which I still remember to this day.
We struggled with money growing up, and I didn’t have the luxury of a free ride through schoo—I had to pay for my own tuition, rent and textbooks.
I have the tendency to put on weight quickly and easily (thanks for the genes, Dad), and have struggled with self-esteem and body image issues in the past. I often feel like I’m too young to make a difference.
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of using our excuses to define our current circumstance. Many of us can probably say that we aren’t exactly thrilled with our jobs, our relationships, our health or our life trajectory. But instead of using excuses as a means of defending our sorry situation, we can shift toward getting people excited about being a part of our empowered existence.
We can continually inspire people to be at their best by being at ours. Letting go of all our excuses means taking full responsibility for our lives, and finding more reason to be proud of ourselves, every single day.
Here’s my excuse-free story:
My parents did everything they could to ensure that I could have the best life possible. They immigrated to a new country with two bags each, no grasp of the language, nothing to their name, and have since transcended these challenges to establish a comfortable, happy life for themselves.
I’ve succeeded in academics and in my professional life despite being a young female minority. I’ve worked hard to support myself and get a good education.
I’ve overcome self-esteem and body image issues, and am doing all I can to encourage healthy and positive living through yoga, writing and life coaching.
I’m making a difference by sharing my story. I am grateful for everything that has made me the person I am today.
Which sounds better?
Forget about being too young, too old, too tired, too overweight, too out of shape, too busy, too inexperienced, too overwhelmed. Forget about not having enough money, time, connections, opportunities, talents, skills, friends, things. Essentially, all of these excuses boil down to one thing: fear.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What would you do if you had all the money, time, talent in the world? Anything you want would be within your reach. And this is the truth.
Anything you want is within your reach.
Money can be earned. Time can be made. Skills can be gained. Opportunities can be found. Experience can be acquired.
We can make things happen for ourselves, as long as we become willing to give up all the excuses we’re using to hold ourselves back.
Ironically I recently had a conversation with a security guard who doesn’t think that letting go of excuses is possible. Our vulnerable hearts will want protection, too. Being safe and secure is what excuses are all about.
I didn’t waste my breath trying to convince the man otherwise. I’m posting this article to prove that it can be done. The very least that any of us can do is try.
Ed: Lynn Hasselberger