I’m heading on a trip everybody! This week I am leaving to visit a close friend of mine who currently lives in Spain, and I am extremely excited to experience a new place and culture. I’ve written about my travels before and I will continue in the future, but in mentioning my trip to a few people I heard a few things that got me thinking. After telling a co-worker about my trip, she lamented on all the trips she could have gone on but either wasn’t able to or chose not to which, I mean, is life. But it did get me thinking about the reasons I don’t do certain things, and whether or not they’re as valid as I make them out to be.
I’ll explain by using my love of travel as an example. I love to travel, and I recognize that privilege and luck play a role in the freedom I have to travel. Not everyone has this, I understand. But since I really love it, there are far fewer excuses (i.e. reasons) for why I wouldn’t travel or go somewhere. That’s because the time, energy and yes, money, that I spend on these trips is totally worth it to me because I enjoy spending my money on experiences. It’s something I know about myself and I understand why I am doing what I am doing. However, when it’s something I love less, there’s no shortage of reasons for why I can’t do something, go somewhere or buy something. And I have plentttttty of those.
Again, I cannot stress this enough – there are plenty of valid reasons for not doing things. Truly. But as someone who fights against cognitive distortions on a daily basis, I’ll tell you that it’s very easy to convince yourself that your excuse/reasoning is legitimate. And once you convince yourself of a few things, it can be a slippery slope into making excuses for everything. Trust me, it’s a hole I’ve gotten out of more than once.
This can be a difficult thing to discuss, though, because everyone’s different. What someone may deem valid, I may not, and vice versa. I can’t pretend that I’ve figured any of this out yet either, but thinking about it has helped me tremendously.
So don’t put pressure on yourself to answer these questions or make others answer them. Just asking the question, to begin with, goes a long way toward increasing self-awareness and figuring out what matters to us. I know there are plenty of excuses I use that need to stop. I also know there is a difference between a reason and an excuse. We all have our priorities, and I do just fine when I stick to mine.
P.S. can’t wait to update you all on my trip when I get back – who knows what I’ll learn??