“Excuses are for losers.”
Unfortunately, those are my father’s favorite words. And he loves to toss them around, even when inapplicable and inappropriate.
Not to mention wrong.
The statement itself is true, for many people, in many situations. The problem is, for whom is it true, and in for which situations? Who can say that with 100% certainty, with legitimate authority? Who is qualified to delegate that authority, and who is qualified to assume it?
When my father says this to me, is he implying that I’m a loser? (It sure sounds–and feels–like it.) What does that even mean? What constitutes a “loser” in his book?
Please define that one for me, dear dad, so that I can stay on the sunny side of your line.
A loser, to me, is someone who conducts themselves poorly. Such as being rude to someone or stealing from them or lying to them. A loser is someone who doesn’t treat people with respect. A loser blames others around them for their own character flaws without taking the correct amount of self-responsibility and ownership. A loser refuses to be accountable for their own actions. A loser is someone who has cultivated a spoiled entitlement mentality, feeling entitled to something they’ve never tried to earn. A loser is someone who hurts people or animals, someone who drives while intoxicated, someone who steals, and so on. In short, a loser is someone who knows they could do better, and knowingly, willingly under-delivers, or commits a wrongdoing even when they damn well know better.
I think that most reasonable people can agree with that.
However, someone who earns an honest living by genuinely trying to help others live better lives…is not a loser. One who is giving their best, whatever that might be, at any given time, is not a loser.
Someone who conducts themselves with civility and kindness is not a loser.
Someone who says what they mean and means what they say is not a loser.
Someone who has been under stress and low self-esteem and gets bullied at every turn, for years, decades, and still finds the courage to get up and face the world every day, is not a loser.
Someone who is on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum and is thus attempting to survive and thrive in a world not compatibly encoded is definitely not a loser.
And what’s an “excuse”, anyway?
It seems that my father needs a little Vocabulary 101, including the introduction of a new concept into his world.
There are excuses, and there are legitimate, genuine, valid reasons.
A migraine headache (or any other pain or health issue, for that matter) is not an “excuse”; it’s a reason.
And then there are reasons that might not be easily expressed. All my life I’ve been accused of making “excuses”, because I couldn’t do This or That, and that my feeble attempts to explain why fell flat and unacceptable on unsympathetic ears. Ears that were attached to mouths that were quick to say that those insufficient attempts were “just an excuse”.
There are some tasks I might not have been able to carry out, simply because, at that moment, I couldn’t. I didn’t always have the words to explain myself. I didn’t have “excuses”; I had reasons. I didn’t often know what they were, but they were my own, and they were legitimate.
An excuse, to me, is an untruth that gives someone permission to act in a way that is knowingly, willingly, below their abilities at any given moment. A reason, on the other hand, is a valid explanation for why someone may be unable to act in a way that is below someone’s perception of that person’s abilities.
And unfortunately, when it comes to ascertaining the abilities of others, third parties (that is, anyone besides the person in question) don’t walk in that person’s shoes. Therefore, my original thick questions stand: who is anyone to judge anyone else? Someone might believe themselves to be certain of someone else’s capabilities, but how do they actually know? And have outsiders ever stopped to think that what someone was capable of yesterday, they might not be able to deliver today? (That happens, I think, to most people, and I have noticed that it seems to be an even stronger, more prominent theme among the Asperger’s/autistic community, myself definitely included.)
The truth is, they don’t. No one can be 100% certain of someone’s capabilities except that person themselves. Judgments of anyone other than oneself are products of our own perceptions, biases, and shaded lenses, and thus, they’re likely to be inaccurate from time to time.
Which brings me to the moral of the story: it’s probably best not to judge. It’s human nature to do so, but the further one goes with it and the more liberties are taken, the greater the odds that the judge will look like an ass. ❤