The Challenges of Justification!

Justification: An acceptable reason for doing something; Something that justifies an act or way of behaving.

Justification would seem to be understood by most people, but possibly by many in principle only. We all have to justify our actions periodically, either because we want to gain acceptance for that particular decision or, in some cases, because we have been asked to justify a decision. In both cases, another person is involved in our justification process. What happens when no other person is involved?

The context really should not make any difference in that justification is still a valid process, but is now solely to satisfy your own desire to know that it is/was a good decision, and this would seem to be where it falls apart a little!

If your employer, or someone dear to you, asked you to justify a decision that you had made, they would probably expect a tangible response. “Because!” would probably not be considered appropriate, any more than “No idea. Just seemed right at the time!”

Have you ever justified your actions to yourself with a rather vague response? Perhaps you have not even contemplated justifying your actions to yourself? A response could be “I don’t have to justify my response to anybody!” You certainly do not have to justify your response to anybody else, but  it can be very rewarding to justify it to yourself!

As many of you know, there are a number of charitable organizations that I feel are special, and which I therefore support financially, and I regularly go through the justification process.  The most common challenge for me is to justify who I support. How does one balance starving people against those fleeing war; against those coping with an environmental disaster; against abuse of women; against child poverty; against exploitation of young girls for sex… and all the similar variables with animal abuse etc. etc. etc.  Even if I won a multi-million dollar lottery prize, I could not significantly impact all of them!

Justification is therefore my process of determining what I want to do, and why I want to do it. From my perspective, that process is critical because it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the options, that doing nothing can easily be the end result.

How does one compare supporting a local humane society with supporting child poverty? How does one decide between the people who have no idea when they are going to eat again, against those who were just devastated by a hurricane? Justification is so important because, once again, it is so easy to be overwhelmed and do nothing.

Justification can be made easier when it is acknowledged (and totally believed), that whatever you decide would make you happy in this context… is the correct decision. If you choose to support animal welfare rather than human welfare, and as long as you really believe that is what you want to do, then that is the right decision.

I have often alluded (in past Posts) to the giving of time and/or financial support to charitable organizations, but I have intentionally tried to avoid sounding like a charity promotion because it is nobody’s business but yours. This Post does however have a goal, and that is to encourage you to rationalize your circumstances, and come to a conclusion that you can honestly say makes sense to you.

Because of my current time commitments (this is retirement?), volunteering is not a high priority. I also take into consideration that I have volunteered in numerous organizations over the past 40 years. My lifestyle is relatively frugal so I do have the financial  ability to support areas that I feel directed to. My justification issues arise when circumstances change. Do I spend that tax rebate (e.g.) on a big screen TV; treat myself to a really nice guitar, or put it towards the fight going on here regarding child exploitation? My ultimate decision is not up for discussion by anybody, because it is simply what is going to work for me and I need to be happy with me!

I would ask that you justify your circumstances to yourself in this context. Keeping $50,000+ in the bank to offset a University education, or as a start to generating retirement income for the future should be justified very easily. Maintaining a “nest egg” for some serious traveling down the road is also justifiable. Doing pretty much anything is justifiable… but the important question is simply – Can you justify it to yourself? Can you honestly justify your current circumstances as being perfectly reasonable given the conditions both “at home” and around the world?

If you can say “Yes” with a clear conscience, then I am very happy for you because you are obviously doing everything you can for whatever you are attuned to. If you are feeling a little pressured (my apologies because that is not intended), then perhaps some time spent rationalizing your circumstances would prove very beneficial.

Justification: An acceptable reason for doing something; Something that justifies an act or way of behaving.

Just thinking!

Mental Health a la Mother Nature!

I spent the first 29 years of my life in England and, as many of you will know, living there always puts you within reach of an ocean or sea. It doesn’t matter where you live, salt water is not that far away. Continue reading