Whenever I make a change in my life, like getting a haircut, I always get questioned about it. In 2013, I shaved off all my hair for a fundraiser for finding a cure for children’s cancer. Before and after the shave, I was bombarded with questions from everyone in my life about why I wanted to do this to myself. They wanted me to justify my choices.
Here’s the thing about justification: it’s a reflex action when we feel like our choices are being threatened and we need to gain the upperhand on the situation. For example, this is how some conversations would go:
“Why are you cutting all your hair off? It’s so nice!”
“I’m doing it to raise money for children with cancer.”
*can’t really say anything bad about raising money*
“Oh great, good on you.”
Immediately, by justifying my actions, I feel like I’ve gained control of the situation and that I’ve weakened the person who’s attacking my choices.
However, I’ve since realized how wrong my perception of this reflex is. See, when you justify something, this also comes along with assuming that there is something inherently wrong with what you are justifying. I didn’t have to justify fundraising, but I did have to justify shaving my head, because I felt like there was something inherently wrong with it.
Justification is an apology shrouded in indignance. And even worse, instead of gaining control of the situation through justification, you give the other person the upperhand by assuming that they deserve your justification. They don’t. Apologies should be reserved for things that are wrong, but definitely not for anything else.
When I went from a bob to a pixie cut, everyone started taking it so personally, especially my own family members. My decisions, especially ones that don’t really affect anyone else, don’t need to be justified at all. I’m not apologizing for what I do, and I’m not going to be seeking justification from anyone else either because I don’t have the right to believe that I deserve explanations from anyone who hasn’t done anything wrong.