One of my favorite movies of all time is The Big Chill. My dad had the LP, which is how I first came across it. I used to listen to the music again and again. Then, when I was old enough, I marched up the road to our local, independent Video rental store in Notting Hill Gate, London and rented the VHS.

There are so many great quotations in this movie, but the one that has always stuck with me, is the one that occurs when Sam and Michael are having a chat:

Sam Weber: “Nothing’s more important than sex!” 
Michael: “Oh yeah, have you ever gone a week without a rationalization?”

Pema Chodron has a great way of explaining the three main ways that we rationalize:

  1. Attacking
  2. Indulging
  3. Ignoring

Attacking: we shame ourselves (eg. for that cookie, not waking up early enough to make the gym before work). We wallow in guilt

Indulging: we condone our bad behavior – I deserved that cookie, I need to sleep for 13 hours. Inadequacy and self-doubt may plague us, but we get really good at rationalizing!

Ignoring: we zone out, space out, dissociate. We might compartmentalize. This strategy can work for a while.. But then something usually happens which highlights this ineffective behavior!

What’s your go-to rationalization strategy?