What's your excuse for making excuses?

An excuse is a reason that is given to justify a fault, and its primary purpose is to lessen responsibility

Image used for illustrative purpose.
Image used for illustrative purpose.

By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

Published: Mon 19 Sep 2022, 11:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Sep 2022, 11:28 PM

Every day is a revelation. That’s the beauty of life when new ideas and perspectives come to the forefront. However, some beliefs change, and some get reaffirmed, even as people play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. So, when making excuses, remember there are genuine reasons and lame ones (in my kids’ language).

I hear my father using “level playing field” often. It is a concept about fairness. Not every player has an equal chance to succeed, but they all play by the same set of rules”. This concept seems so simple yet is not followed. I agree relationships can be complicated but try not to be the two extremes on the same day.

I don’t do breakfast with anyone, simple. So, you won’t find me having one with someone and telling someone else that I don’t do breakfast. People respect transparency, integrity and authenticity. We all have bunked classes, work and boring meetings, (using every excuse we could think of) but fortunately, the excuses we made were not proven otherwise because our relationship with our teachers and bosses was formal and quite restrictive (not on Facebook and Insta with them).

So please don’t tell me you are dying to see me. I am nothing to die for, firstly. Secondly, what are you doing about it? I remember one thing an aunt told me. ''If you really want to meet someone, make a plan, fix a time, date and venue." You will in all probability meet. The drama of be really wanting to, comes to the forefront when they are just words, not followed by any action.

Both my parents are genuine and warm people. I know we are living in a make-believe world of social media, of fancy photos, logos and catchy lines. But in all of this, what shines is that a person or company, that truly lives up to its words. Simply retaining employees during the pandemic spoke volume about companies.

'Authenticity' and 'organic' are in vogue these days. How organic or authentic are you? I see people being taken for a ride and remember the line, “People are being used and things are being treasured’. I have heard many interviews of famous people wanting to leave a legacy behind. How would you want to be remembered? As a person who kept his/her word and meant what he/she said, or who said sweet words but nothing else?

We have a conscience, how much we listen to it, is a different story. The people who sleep the best are the ones with a clear conscience, I believe. The others are thinking of the stories they made up, keeping them afloat and not misfiring. That’s a lot of work if you are trying to quieten the mind to sleep.

I know who belongs to which category. I may just smile and choose to ignore the excuses people make, but that doesn’t mean I am ignorant about it. The latest excuse during the pandemic, when meetings were being conducted virtually was “network problem.” Really? You are on WhatsApp all day, even did a few Zoom meeting, but now you have network issues?

What is the psychology behind excuses? It seems we want to get out of a situation, but don’t want to appear in bad light. Saying “there was no electricity in my house” so I could not complete my assignment (no internet), gives the impression that you’ve been a victim of misfortune and avoids conflict whereas saying “I forgot” makes you look lazy and lacking in conscientiousness. An excuse is a reason that is given to justify a fault, and its primary purpose is to lessen responsibility. People who make excuses often will start giving reasons when not even asked. Excuses are plausible explanations which attempt to externalize and avoid personal responsibility for problematic behaviour. The message of an excuse is some variation of “I really wanted to (not really) but I couldn’t help it.”

So, go ahead and ask, ''Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of all (not in skin colour but in how genuine the person is).'' I love this quote - “Do not make excuses, make something incredible happen in your life right now.” – Greg Hickman-

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai

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