What it Means to Rationalize

I was listening to expert insights recently and I heard a really interesting concept I thought I’d share: When we rationalize, what we are actually doing is telling ourselves RATIONAL LIES 💥

For context, it was talking about how humans are emotional beings that typically make decisions based on emotions. We then use logic to back up those decisions (rationalizing).

The point being made here is that we need to train ourselves to respond rather than to react. It’s not about not feeling emotion, but rather being in control of them so you are better able to relate with others in business and in life. I’ve never heard it put this way before!

Now that I think about it, it’s totally true. We usually rationalize doing things we know that we shouldn’t do, or not doing things we know that we SHOULD do. In the process, we abandon ourselves and what we know to be true. No wonder so many of us struggle with self doubt! We literally give ourselves excuses to do things we shouldn’t do or avoid things we should be doing, and often we will feel guilty about it later.

Example: You’re trying to lose weight and someone offers you some kind of junk food. You really want the food even though you know it doesn’t align with your new lifestyle change, and you rationalize having it by being like “well I’ve been good all week so far, once meal isn’t going to kill me”. What usually happens though is we feel bad after eating it, we recognize we shouldn’t have done it, and for anyone who’s ever had an eating disorder – you likely punish yourself subconsciously by eating more junk food and ruining your progress. I’ve been there many times.

What is happening unconsciously when we do this is we are lying to ourselves, and because we ARE ourselves, we know it is a lie. What happens if a friend or loved one consistently lies to you? You’re going to lose trust in that person. The same is true for ourselves, and I think that is why many of us struggle with self doubt, indecision, and willpower. We have lied to ourselves so many times that we lost faith in our own ability to keep a promise to ourselves.

The good news is, this can be changed. If we become aware of this, all it takes is acknowledging when this is happening. I will literally talk to myself in my head as though I am talking to another person. “No Jessica you don’t need that, you want it for comfort. You’ve worked so hard, you don’t want to throw it all away now.” That is just one example, and the purpose is to give you back your self-confidence. In creating successful situations where you kept a promise to yourself, that is a natural by-product.

Can you think of a situation in which you rationalized? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear your thoughts or learn of any successes you have in shifting these mindsets.

With love and light,


Published by Jessica

My name is Jessica and I am a licensed Neuroencoding Specialist, which I prefer to call "Mindset Transformation Coach". I have worked as a Customer Success Manager for the past 6 years coaching corporations on how to develop their people, and I have been eager to work one on one! My educational background is in Psychology, and I am very passionate about trauma awareness, attachment theory, polyvagal theory, and anything that helps us understand how to live our best lives.

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