I don’t have to justify myself

I don’t have to justify myself August 12, 2010
Bigger Picture MomentIt started when I wrote this post on why people shouldn’t have to justify themselves to me. Then I read this amazing article written by a woman who has a child with Downs syndrome, in it she talks about how people ask her if she ever got the pre-natal test that would have informed her of her baby’s condition, and she asks why she has to justify his existence.

It got me thinking, how often have I felt the need to justify my own children’s existence, when people ask if one of my closely spaced kids was a “mistake”. No one should ever have to justify their child’s existence.

And that led to me thinking about just how often I attempt to justify my thoughts, my opinions, my experiences, myself, to others.

When I first started branching out of the fundamentalist mindset, I would try to excuse any of the knowledge I was gaining of the outside world. I would mention something I saw on “The View” and then follow it up with a “not that I ever watch that show, it just happened to be on one day after the news.” Or a song would come on in a store and I would let it slip out that I loved it! And then try to explain that I “hardly ever listen to the radio” Heaven forbid someone got the wrong impression about how worldly I was.

As I’ve grown, I thought that I’d left the excuses behind. I no longer try to justify the way I dress, what I read, watch or listen too. But I find myself still trying to get people to accept me in other ways.

I’ve been struggling in my faith. I’ve spent time wondering whether to believe in God at all. The Catholic Church has begun to draw me back to the faith, and as I’ve started to see a glimpse of God again in the mass, I’ve tried to justify it to those who would rather I not be a Christian at all, than make the choice to be Catholic.

As I’ve changed the way I parent, I’ve struggled with so much insecurity about how people will judge my children’s behavior. At first I told people that I was just “taking a break” from spanking, that I would probably go back to it eventually. When I realized that I wasn’t going to start spanking again, I felt that I needed to convince the naysayers that I was making the right decision!
I’ve struggled with depression on and off for years. I’ve always tried to explain it away, attribute it to something superficial. Telling others and myself, “I’m just having a bad week (or month)”. I didn’t want to acknowledge the depression that keeps re-surfacing in my life, because I have an amazing husband and wonderful children, so I don’t have a “good enough” reason to be depressed, right?

Why do I get trapped in the endless circle of trying to justify who I am? If I can abandon perfectionism, and be OK with the real me, then why do I feel the need to explain to anyone else?

My Bigger Picture Moment? I don’t have to justify myself.

Bigger Picture Moments is where we step back and take in life. This week it’s being hosted by Sarah at This Heavenly Life. Hop over to her blog to read more about the Bigger Picture, and maybe share your own moment.
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