Ask UfYH: Excuses vs. Reasons

I get a lot of flack for one of the UfYH catchphrases: “Excuses are boring.” Which I totally get. People have said that it’s too aggressive, that it makes them feel pressured or shamed, that it takes too much of a hard-line approach. All of these are completely valid reactions, because people have had them, and reactions are reactions. There’s no spectrum of validity where I can say, “No, you can’t think or feel that,” because people do think and feel that. But I feel like I should talk about “Excuses are boring” a little bit.

This phrase is usually paired with “Make your bed.” And let me tell you, folks, there is no end to the list of ways people take exception to making their bed. Which, again, is totally fine, because we’re all grown-ass adults here, and I can explain until I’m blue in the face why I think making your bed is beneficial, but if you don’t want to, I’m not going to show up at your house and force you to.

As to why people don’t make their bed, or wash their dishes, or put their clothes away, goddammit, there are excuses and there are reasons. Excuses are boring. Reasons are legit.

These are excuses:

  • It’s just gonna get messed up later anyway.
  • That would cut into my Tumblr time.
  • It takes too long. *click* What’s new on Twitter? *refreshes Facebook for the ninth time* Ooh, my turn on Trivia Crack!
  • I’d rather watch one more episode of Archer.
  • I don’t know how, and I don’t want to bother to learn.
  • I don’t want to move the dog.

So, yeah, all of those things fall under the “you can totally do it, you’re just justifying not doing it because you don’t want to do it” category. On the other hand, though, are reasons:

  • I’m not physically able to do that.
  • My mental or emotional well-being would be compromised if I did that.
  • I don’t know how, and there are obstacles preventing me from learning how.
  • I have done that before, and it proved harmful to me or my health.

Reasons are not boring. Reasons are actual, legitimate explanations as to why an action or activity are not feasible for you to accomplish. So when I say, “Excuses are boring,” I’m not saying, “There is no acceptable statement of fact that explains why you cannot do this.” I’m saying, “If you aren’t doing this because you don’t feel like it, and you’re using all sorts of justifications that you know are bullshit so you don’t have to do it? That’s boring.” If your justifications aren’t bullshit, if they are factual explanations that you know are limiting you, those are reasons. They aren’t boring, they aren’t excuses, and so “Excuses are boring” doesn’t apply to you.

You know what’s a reason and what’s an excuse. If we can find a way to work within the limitations of our reasons without employing excuses, well, that’s pretty exciting. Not boring at all.

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[E] Rachel

I punctuate sentences with Oxford commas, and I punctuate disagreements with changesocks. Proud curmudgeon. Get off my lawn.

3 thoughts on “Ask UfYH: Excuses vs. Reasons”

  1. If I ever make a tumblr account, my first post will be a series of photographs on how to make one’s bed whilst laying under the covers, thereby derailing the excuse of “I’m about to go to bed”.

    S.O.’s younger brother once pulled the excuse of “it’s just gonna get messy again”. His mother asked why he flushes the toilet if he’s just going to shit in it again later.

    And that excuse would never fly with me, either. The vast majority of the time, I’m motionless when I sleep. Hell, if I’m taking a nap, sometimes I’ll lay straight with my arms folded across my chest.

  2. I *still* say it’s ok to let the 18 year old cat with arthritis sleep. Sometimes. Not all the time. (She’ll get a by maybe once a month.) For me, this is a “reason” verses an “excuse”. Why am I bothering to justify this? Hint: it has nothing to do with wanting permission to let the cat sleep. This is how I check my excuse/reason barometer. The cat gets a by when she’s been whimpering all night, not because she’s cute. (Yes, sometimes I’ll post a picture of my curled up kitty widdy on Twitter because *I* think she’s cute….) Would she get over me moving her? Of course. Would I feel guilty about it for a few hours? Depends on how healthy I am that day. If my GAD/MDD/OCD is kicked into high gear, the cat stays and I straighten the covers the best I can… if I can. (More often than, I’ll crawl back into bed with her if I’m that bad.) And if anyone is *really* complaining about “Excuses are boring” then WTF are you frequenting/following/liking a site that PLAINLY SAYS “Terrifying motivation for lazy people.”

    (Damn it… when did you change that to “You’re better than your mess”???? Fuck it. I’m posting it anyway….)

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