The one thing in this world that I will never accept are excuses. I don’t accept them from others and I don’t accept them from myself. I find excuses disrespectful, disingenuous, and a fake apology. Excuses provide nothing of substance and allow the person to shirk their personal accountability.
Don’t misunderstand me, though. I do accept explanations for why someone did or didn’t do something. That leads to understanding. But if that is all you provide is an excuse as an apology as to why something happened, or didn’t happen, and you expect me to be okay with that, think again.
My dad didn’t talk to me much during his life, but one thing he said that has stuck with me was to always tell the truth, and take responsibility for what you do. It is the quickest way in resolving problems. I have lived by this principle as much as I possibly can. It has given me a strong base of ethics and integrity that I expect others to operate with me on.
So when someone starts using an excuse to make me feel sympathy or compassion for their behavior, I tend to feel contempt. I would not ask you to accept my excuses as to why I behaved in a way that caused the situation. Excuses have zero substance or merit. They are used in a vain attempt to “wash away” any personal responsibility. If we are having a discussion where you have to use an excuse, believe me, my respect for you will hit the floor and just continue sinking. I have treated you with the respect to acknowledge my lack of accountability. If you treat me with excuses, you have basically said, you don’t respect me or my feelings and that yours are more valid without establishing any sense of measurement or basis for this concept.
This becomes incredibly important when it comes to apologies. If you only apologize using excuses, (“I’m sorry, but I was so tired.”, “I’m sorry, but I just have too much to deal with and I’m so stressed”, etc.) you are saying that what you agreed to doesn’t matter as much to you as you had let on and are asking me to either remove you from the obligation you created for yourself without any compensation, or, you are increasing the deadline, thus making me have to make other plans. Both do not consider the implications to my personal time, energy or effort, and disrepsect all these things. You don’t have the wherewithal to simply say, “I’m sorry. I thought I could do this, and I can’t.” which is far more respectful and considerate and holds a great deal more integrity.
I see and hear so many people make excuses for their lack of accountability. I see and hear so many people accept excuses instead of honest and sincere apologies. It is often no wonder we don’t know how to treat others when we expect them to accept shoddy excuses and whines over considerate apologies that acknowledge our failings. We don’t treat each other with the respect we feel we deserve and we have gotten to be okay with that. It’s shameful.
Words and how we present them have meaning and value. Excuses devalue ourselves, make us less than and less worthy of respect. Excuses show that our bank of integrity is bust, filled with hollow IOU’s and empty promises that were never intended to be kept by the person making them. Excuses remove your power in coming to cooperative agreements and situations. Most of all, excuses insult the person you are handing them to as payments for your lack of personal accountability, proving you are not trustworthy and have no integrity.
I would hope that if I were ever to provide an excuse to another person, they would turn and walk away from me in disgust. I wouldn’t deserve any better. Don’t be surprised when I do the same to you