Monday, April 30, 2007

Beng rational vs. rationalizing

I'm reading Bonds That Make Us Free right now. I'm not a big self-help book reader, but this one is resonating with me big time. One point the author makes is that every time we feel like we should or should not do something and then act oppositely it is a self-betrayal because we then begin to rationalize our action or non-action, and that usually creates unfounded anger towards others. I've realized I really do this a lot. Even when I'm just driving in my car and I make a stupid mistake driving, I tell myself it's the other driver's fault and then I get in a really bad mood and stay in it for awhile. I really hate driving. (But really, Utah has some truly awful drivers. Can I say that without making a self-betrayal?)

The next time I find myself mad at someone, I am going to seriously examine why I'm mad, and I bet it will be because I'm rationalizing my own behavior. This probably sounds like such a simple concept, but it's one that I really need to recognize in my life.


Neil and Diana said...

That is very interesting. I'm sure the habit is totally ingrained and will be difficult (for me) to notice, much less break. Lately I've been thinking about the things I suck at, and the confirmations that I give myself every time those issues come up. Like, my memory sucks, so when I can't remember something, I remind myself, "That's right, Diana, your memory sucks," and the fact of my sucky memory has thus been reaffirmed and further cemented. But I can't figure out how to break this pattern, especially since, for example, my memory really does suck. Do you have this problem too?

Abby said...

I'm glad you got the idea. I realize I didn't explain it very well.

As far as your memory, maybe it's good to admit to yourself that it sucks, as long as that motivates you to improve it. Better than being in denial? I am going to seriously think about this, because it applies to me too.

Emily said...

Man, I am fully aware that whenever I get on my kids' case (cases?) it is because I am mad at myself for something. Painfully aware.

sarah said...

I am about one third through this book too, only I started reading it 4 years ago. I really liked the message, but it was just not a casual read. I really had to focus on every word. Thus, I put it down and am now rationalizing my reasons for doing so. One of these days I'll pick it up again. How far are you?

Mom bought it the same time as me. Did you ever finish it mom?

Abby said...

I am not very far in. I'm like you, Sarah, it is taking me awhile to read it, which drives me crazy. It's a good book, but it does take so much concentration. Definitely not a pleasure read.

Anonymous said...


Yeah, I have to say I'm a little shocked that you haven't finished this book. You whiz through so many books and I noticed it at your house last night. I am like all of you, I tried to read, but ended up putting it down for awhile. I've heard it's an amazing book, so Abs, you'll have to get me motivated again when you're done.


Jarret said...


I had Warner (arbinger co-founder) as a prof at the Y. I have an original manuscript draft of that book, titled bonds of anguish bonds of love.
If you like this book, try out The Peacemaker and Leadership and Self-Deception. Extensions of his philosophies in parable form.
Brilliant stuff.