Excuse me

Why do we hate excuses?

We have heard the phrase, “I will not tolerate any excuse…” all our lives, be it our teachers, your senior in the corporate world or perhaps your spouse. But why is it so frowned upon, why the disinclination towards an excuse. I wonder if you have ever thought about the phrase “Excuse me” deeply, have you? Today we look into it…

I remember when somebody used to forget completing their homework and as the reasons were coming out of their mouth the teacher would interrupt and tell the student to shut up and ‘stop making excuses’. It would always trouble me, so much so that even having a reason like being sick wouldn’t calm my brain against the forth coming rage of my teacher.

The literal meaning of excuse is ‘trying to justify’ or ‘seek to attach the blame’. But the thing that is fascinating to me is the fact that it’s the best defence of someone in authority to attach blame, justifying his/her lack in results (let say) to the higher authority. Let me elaborate…

Blame-game and excuses are somewhat synonyms, but we know that some blames are correct as well, or rather justifiable. Now, reason of a particular scenario is a blame-game as well, per-say. Why is it hot? It’s summer. Why don’t you know about Dostoyevsky? Because I’m in 2nd grade. These cases seem plain enough to recognise the sense of clarification/reason/blame/excuse towards a fault (that also depends to the perception of the other side). But where does all this fit into the narrative of excuses, as in excuses made to change/hide the reality. Believe it or not, hating excuses is to a high degree dependant on individuals and their temperament and or the stakes for a mistake. 

Let’s take an ordinary example of an argument between couples: They have planned a dinner tonight and the husband had already cleared his schedule for the day, but, something came up and he was called by his boss, the wife clearly understands the situation and just calmly asks him to return early, so that they can enjoy the night-out. The dinner is scheduled at 8pm and the guy is stuck in traffic at 7:30pm. He reaches home at 8:30pm and returns to an angry wife ready in her dress that she saved for this special occasion. She’s disappointed and he is tired and you know the rest, no dinner. The husband starts making excuses and she doesn’t like it, the mood goes off and they sleep with anger spiralling in their heads. 

Now obviously it could’ve been the other way around, but the point is that here the justification that the guy makes can be looked at as excuse and reason simultaneously. The reason why we hate excuses has more to do with predisposed perspective that excuse means he/she is lying and the human psychology than mere situation. Even when we say ‘excuse me’ we are implying to a reason that others trust us enough, for us to leave the group momentarily or not. The problem I have with situations in which the expectation is high and everything is propounded to be perfect is that when something bad happens, the mere act of calling him/her out for being an excuse-maker is that we nullify everything he/she may say in defence that actually is a reason than a blame point to hide their faults. 

All this reminds me of pygmalion effect, but anyway, what we need to remember is that being aware of our presuppositions towards minute things like excuses and stuff can go a long way in solving situations where even when one is to blame, all the time is used to recover and not to shame. 

Systematic

Systematic desensitisation for the hurdles of life. #27

What is it? Why desensitise yourself? God the auto-correct is killing me, are you sure web that its ‘s’ and not ‘z’ in desensitis(z)ation. Anyway, I recently heard Dr. Oz say that turmeric, which is obviously widely used in India, is actually distasteful for others and people just can’t take it, interesting enough is the fact that taking turmeric as India has been for centuries is a valid explanation to why India doesn’t have Alzheimer as much as non-turmeric-eating countries; it clears some toxins in brain and stuff. The taste buds of people who don’t take turmeric haven’t developed for the taste. Now aside from this little health nugget I actually wanted to talk about systematic desensitisation in our world that has been creeping in where it shouldn’t. There doesn’t pass a single day when I don’t have an unfortunate article or news pop up stating a rape of a minor, theft, lynching, murder et cetera. It has been going on for a long time now, sadly I see people reacting to these things to a lesser degree as days pass by. I literally heard one person saying that its just as is and who cares. Seriously!? 

Now I’m not here to talk about criminal stats and stuff like that in this blog, I wanted this to be first to give a slight sense to how this psychological therapy has creeped in unnoticed as a vice. But how can one use this method in a good way that has been hovering for all the wrong reasons? 

First I want to tell you a real example of a patient I read about: John(alias) went to a clinical psychologist to get rid of his phobia of syringes (aichmophobia). He had a dental surgery without anaesthesia when he was 8, nurses held him as the knife and syringes charged at his gums, quite horrific. Now, the psychologist showed him a picture of a syringe, poor John couldn’t even look at that for long lengths of time, but slowly, after some days he was fine with the photo. After that the psychologist placed the photo on the table and said to him that he’ll bring a syringe next week and he will have to look at it, though he will have a choice to look at it all or not and for how long. So the following week he was introduced to the syringe and he freaked out and asked for it to be thrown away, and the request was fully acted. After days he started to look at it well, slowly he could touch it and after weeks of training he was fine with it, his phobia was gone. 

This is how systematic desensitisation works, though its a lot harder than it might seem. Now maybe you don’t have phobias which hinder your life progress, but it can be used or rather used to explain how to be better at tackling the problems we face in life. 

Whenever I see people trying to solve something they expect to do it or be done with it. But there’s something most people know however never apply; you’ll suck at first. See when you screw up a research paper and it was your first, it’ll be bad, your hard work in the bin and perhaps your next chance will be months later. All those months you’ll grieve at how you could’ve done it better and believe me, I perfectly know how it feels to have screwed up something first time, when it counted as the first time. The simple tact to follow in the head is that all the problems you face will come again and again, if the field you are in demands roughly the same procedures but as you go on, the probability of you failing at it decreases, it may seem obvious but I want you to look at it from the therapy standpoint. Keep in mind though that “systematic” isn’t there for nothing, you have note how you failed, why, and how next time is shouldn’t be the same way you failed if in case you fail. 

Now, next time you think something is as is analyse if its because you have been desensitised of it or not, there’s a good chance it could be the case. And use the technique to get off of your fears and remember life is full of problems, as you go on you’ll get better as solving them. See ya!

“Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” – Michel de Montaigne 

Judgement

Don’t judge yourself; the judgement of others. #26

Let me start by saying that this one is going to be kind of a juxtaposition. We see a lot of posts surfacing around either telling us to not judge others or pitying and cautioning us from judging ourselves. Its a mess that is gold for anyone with a problem that they themselves created. Let me elaborate…

The idea of “God is the only judge” seems to me a bit stretched; it would be the best defence of a convict in a society where most people are religious. Well you might be soliloquising that God did create rules for us to be regulated by, well you would be right then. The same could be applied to judging yourself and judging others. If someone has a shady history, perhaps a burglary charge or a kidnapping case that is still in process (yeah I know, innocent until proven guilty), we still and I can guarantee you this, would not allow the person in our home or near our children. But why is that? Why the innocent until proven guilty thing doesn’t work in our minds i.e outside of the sphere, of ironically, judgement? It could well be related to our tendency to be negative than positive, the statement works well in sense of the court of law, but not human mind, or rather I should say, emotions. It actually reminds me of the movie “The State VS Jolly LLB 2” where Sachin Mathur (played by Annu Kapoor), makes the point that though the charges aren’t proved yet and the court is still in process, newspapers and media have already let out the popular statement of Suryaveer Singh (played by Kumud Mishra) and others being guilty. 

So why am I elaborating on the point of innocent until proven guilty? Well, because I have a question for you as well. Are you innocent? Now that’s a question pretty much relating to existentialism or perhaps too complex to comprehend and condense in a single blog, but the question remains in context. What are you being accused of? Or maybe the question is, is the prosecutor, that is your own conscience, right? See all I can do is give you a lantern in the cold hard wind, you have to find the path yourself, I want you to get into a frame of mind for the question of judgement and the following Breaking Bad clip is bloody brilliant for that, don’t worry, its spoiler free, I’m not that cruel. 

 

 

The law judges us, we can’t bully, rape, murder, take bribes, breach privacy, kidnap and all the other crimes without being prosecuted. Or can we? The laws may differ in degree and definitely the way its perceived in society but the crime remains. Its so crazy but just think how horrifying it would be if I just change the names of the said crimes assuming the acts are no longer crimes because they haven’t being comprehended as such. I don’t even want to name them, its just too much weight. The point is that its an axiom that at least the said acts are crimes and the person will be punished for acting in that way. 

Now think about the judgement you are putting on yourself, is it punishable by law? Yes? Then you have your answer. No? Well, now comes the hard part, perhaps its a judgement on why you scored 80/100 when you were supposed to have a full score. Every law that comes into place in based on how it might effect the common interest on human species; survival. Almost all the laws are based on that or can be tracked back to it. Now if you were going for a job that required minimum of 90/100 to apply, well then you won’t get a job paying you six figures, perhaps that soon. You can apply for that job next year, or go find another job for the time being but if an economic depression hits, you probably will suffer more than you would have if you had that six figure job. Now also keep in mind that economic depression doesn’t hit on a regular basis so you have to be wary of the judgement you put on yourself. Maybe be more optimistic about future, get a job and study at the same time. I’m presenting this example as a shadow blueprint as to how to judge yourself (hold yourself accountable) for the faults you make. 

Now what about the judgement others stamp on you? It depends if its either by law or by opinion. You know about the former one, but the latter is debatable, a little bit with them, but most of all with yourself. That’s where the idea of intent matters more than action comes in. Nope, it doesn’t mean you don’t act, but its handy when you screw up the action, the first two words are going to calm you and keep you level headed so that you know your judgement. Now if you have a problem of being too self-conscience and judgemental, here’s a simple trick to fix it; stop judging others, it works. Have a great day!

“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” – Bible

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Solitude. #25

Let’s make it crystal that there is a huge difference between voluntary solitude and loneliness. Solitude is the state of being together with oneself; by yourself. Where as loneliness is the state of being away in a sense of stricken connection with others. One is a symptom and or start of a depressive time and another a positive enlightening process. 

I have always been an advocate for solitude, though I caught myself drifting towards the loneliness side of it. We all are in connection all the time, social media connects, internet is a worldwide connection of ever roaming thoughts and ideas. But I feel in this era of apparent useful connection of people to this ginormous degree, we have lost ourselves. People feel ever so distant from their family and friends, those fishing trips and hikes with buddies have turned into a mountain photoshoot. And as it is a topic that could be related to a huge degree with loneliness, we have forgot the idea of solitude. 

Solitude isn’t just the state of being alone, its actually quite scary; you’ll be alone with your own thoughts. And believe me when I tell you that you can be scary to yourself. When people try to enter solitude. They forget the reason for it. It isn’t to gain magical powers of that in an instant you’ll be the “best you could be” kind of thing. Its long, its tiring, its scary. When that metal object in your pocket is away from you and you are in an unknown place with unfamiliar faces perhaps staring at you, that’s when you’ll truly know yourself. Now here’s the thing I find utterly ludicrous; people think that solitude and finding themselves; their inner selves is how they will know themselves. I know this sounds repetitive, but look at this; their presupposition is that their real self is good. Are you sure that your month long decluttering will manifest an angel to you? No! You never know. The proper idea of solitude is to not accept who you are, but to know who you are and make it better. I say “it” because it will feel different, you might cry realising how cruel you’ve been to yourself or to others, how you could’ve changed your life five years ago, all the suppressed guilt, regret, sadness, everything will be open to be attacked by your now-self to make it go away because it just might be that dreadful. Its only when you’ve cleared yourself of the fog and the translucency of what you are that you might connect with the people that are important to you, the best. Its only when you have left being an imposter and are real that the real ones around you will come in your life, things will declutter for you… 

All this might seem like a statement for not being in a state of solitude, but it isn’t. But why would anyone want to be in such a state? Why this gnarly being would you look at? Well its a simple answer… you wanna be the human you desire to be? That’s what you gotta do, you’ll never that human unless you change your inner-self, its on you my friend, its your choice. Go and slay the dragon. 

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” – Henry David Thoreau

Hate

Who hates? #24

Hates means to dislike someone or something intensely and that emphasis isn’t gratuitous. We are all relatively an amalgam of constant variation of emotions as we move forward in life. We hate going to school when we are kids and as we learn the consequences of not attending one and or the benefits of acing one, we drive towards it, especially overtime, if you’ve grown well. But still I see the hundreds of trolls lurking in their bed-sheets with Cheetos dust swamping their phone screens and they grin before even posting their comments. Its interesting how the term “troll” has grown out from folklore ugly giants or dwarfs to a person posting offensive things online. The theme remains…

I wondered why we hate, was it innate or constructed, required or should be eradicated, these troubled me. It is innate though, we hate snakes and spiders instinctively or perhaps, fear them and many other things. I won’t go into the psychology behind hate but rather keep things in context to online trolling. 

I actually caught myself commenting hatefully at a photography account on Instagram, the person had edited the photo a bit much but I just couldn’t hold in the urge to point it out in public and make a joke out of it. I wrote the comment and with the first reply I got, my heart started beating faster for some reason. I knew I was about to get destroyed, all I saw was a creeping laughing face emoji after some dots (“…”). I didn’t dare to even read the reply and quickly deleted the comment. Well, that was a scare, nobody wants to get destroyed online. I put my phone away and paused, I actually seldom comment, and a hateful one is something I never thought I would do. I suddenly recalled a video from Gary Vaynerchuk, in which he stated that he had empathy for the people who write hateful comments. He added, “Why would someone read what you wrote, analyze a pick things out, and then think and write burning mental energy just to give out hate?” I wondered on it and it occurred to me; its when we aren’t happy we hate seeing people happy, its when you screwed up on tests that you envy the topper, its when you can’t edit photos when you bash a photographer for it. I reflected on my day and everything was in “order”. I had put off the alarm in the morning and overslept, was an hour late for class, got scolded for it and then laughed at by the entire class when I mispronounced “fratricide” for “farticide”! I had forgot the notes the teacher had asked of me the day before, so all in all, nothing was going well for me. All that negativity I stuck at an Instagram account. 

And I think really that’s why you find people who support everyone being calm and the ones criticizing everything in chaos. Now obviously constructive criticism is required by everyone and if someone can’t that, that’s their problem. Let me know what you think about this blog, if you may. But also, how you give the criticism matters, I always either DM, email or talk in private about the matter. So what comes out all this? I’d actually want you to think about a time when you had a great urge to talk sh*t about someone, troll online, or point out things that would make someone embarrassed in public. How were you that day, how was your daily routine, the breakfast, the talk with your family, the boss’s call, look what might have caused it. When you find yourself in that aura, its actually a harbinger at what it going wrong with you and you can immediately fix it and be better. And yeah, have empathy for those who hate. Peace.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King Jr.