There are often three reasons for something: the reason we tell others, the reason we tell ourselves, and the real reason. – writing prompt from “642 Things To Write About”
This prompt suggests we all spend a lot of time lying to one another, or perhaps it just presumes we naturally keep a few cards close to our chest. I’d like to think that when we don’t share our real reasons for doing something, it’s to protect someone, even if that person is ourselves. Not all decisions are made with obtuse reasons, hidden under layers of outward explanations, but whether you take the serious or the silly, a number of actions can have this triptych of explanations holding them firm.
Example 1: Going back to check the oven/iron/straighteners are off
The reason we tell others: I forgot my purse.
The reason we tell ourselves: This time, I really might have left it on.
The real reason: It’s too hard to not.
Example 2: retracing a conversation, evening, or event in your mind
The reason we tell others: I was just reminiscing about how much fun it was!
The reason we tell ourselves: better to find something to apologise for than forget to apologise.
The real reason: It’s too hard to not
Example 3: Keeping your mouth shut to avoid an argument
The reason we tell others: I’m being kind / I really do agree to a point
The reason we tell ourselves: I’m terrible at confrontation
The real reason: I’m scared of confrontation and argue better when I’ve had time to think about it (and then know the moment will have passed, and we can all move on.)
Example 4: taking on one thing too many
The reason we tell others: I don’t mind, honestly.
The reason we tell ourselves: It’s good to help out
The real reason: someone better bloody say thanks after all this effort!
Example 5: blogging
The reason I tell others: It’s just a bit of fun, a creative outlet.
The reason I tell myself: Maybe someone will read it
The real reason: I really hope someone reads it!