Wake up to your Consciousness


A Russian-American philosopher named Ayn Rand once said, “Self-rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotion”. Your mind makes unconscious decisions without addressing your consciousness first to satisfy or calm your emotions to reality. Have you ever felt controlled by your unconscious selfin your daily life? If you have, this is a typical example of self-rationalization: self-deception, or convincing your mind to believe something in order to maintain pride or to escape reality, guilt, and reason. Therefore, this concept is developed in each individual as a coping and defense system.  

Self-rationalizing can be found in everyday life and it is not uncommon. One clear example can be identified from those still attending school. Students often convince themselves that their lower grades are not from their own shortcomings in studies, but instead due to the shortcomings of the instructor. In this instance, the student is denying their disappointment in their lack of preparation, and instead points fingers rather than being truthful with themselves. This regret and failure may, in most cases, lead to self-rationalization where the student starts thinking that the teacher was biased or that they were merely wrong in their grading. This excuse is also applicable to those later in life especially when looking for jobs through interviews. Some may not have received the results they wished for, and therefore will experience self-rationalization by blaming another person or condition. Another example of self-rationalization is when a person is turned down from a date and convinces themselves that they were not attracted to the date in the first place. This type of self-rationalization helps to maintain self-esteem and confidence by conjuring a false fact, in this case that the date was not attractive overall. 

One might wonder how beneficial self-rationalization is for individuals. From one perspective, it blinds people from confrontation to internal and external conflicts, which is without a doubt harmful. The moment self-rationalizing becomes a habit or a conscious decision instead of a healing defence mechanism, it is no longer healthy One key aspect of self-rationalization is used when one justifies their harmful manners and behaviors. For instance, a smoker could justify his action and say that smoking is at least better than other harmful drugs, because they want to avoid the truth. This also further leads to the danger of blocking our ability to see our own errors. When one self-rationalizes, one attempts to trust firmly on one’s actions and beliefs. Likewise, another example would be when one procrastinates about a piece of uncompleted work, and therefore justifies one’s actions with exceptions and excuses for the putting off of the task. To elaborate, one might want to watch a Netflix show and put the important lab report off for another day. In this situation, one tells themselves that the show will be short and that the report is easy anyway, to be able to stress less and procrastinate. The most significant disadvantage of self-rationalization is when one becomes unable to accept criticism and feedback from others. This results in developing an unchangeable mindset with only holding on to one’s own beliefs. These two elements of being unable to accept criticism and having an unwavering mindset are avoided with self-rationalization, as the brain otherwise requires lots of mental energy to confront and change beliefs.

Contrastingly, self-rationalization can also allow the brain to cope with stress and to heal from decisions, actions, or happenings, which supports the perspective of self-rationalization as helpful and positive. The fact that self-rationalizing was actually developed as a coping system for the human brain to handle their emotions should be kept in mind. It is supposed to guard negative feelings away and to guide with reasonably false but comforting alternatives. Therefore, as a whole, it improves moods and happiness, but only temporarily. Another advantage of this psychological matter would definitely be defending one’s self-esteem. The more you believe in yourself, the more successful you can be. To illustrate this point, you could self-rationalize before a big exam, and convince yourself that you are fully prepared. This mindset will bring confidence and there would be a higher chance of feeling more sure with your answers and result in achieving better scores. Additionally, another great quality of this method would be helping one face the odds against them. Therefore, when there are mixed opinions against you from the crowd, you would be able to support your idea due to your newly gained confidence from self-rationalization. Even if most of the time the majority is right, you would have a chance to raise your voice when you have a strong belief in your mind. So overall, the benefits of self-rationalization are the confidence, self-esteem, courage and better mood gained, as well as being able to take time away from negative thoughts and realities. 

Since many people use self-rationalization as an unconscious act, the first step to rid of this filter in one’s head is to acknowledge its impact and the reason as to why this form of excuse-making is being applied in the first place. Being truthful with oneself might not exactly be simple, however, it will definitely make life easier. Additionally, avoiding the impact of  self-rationalization is possible by merely turning to decision making with a clear, logical head instead of constantly being guided by emotion or ego. Thus, one’s judgement will not be fogged with the reassuring consequences of the psychological self-defence mechanism that is self-rationalization.