What a burden it can be! Have you ever done something only to later try to justify it to yourself? Have you ever sincerely said one thing only later, without giving it a thought, do something inconsistent and then try to figure out why? Sometimes there appears to be a disconnect between your conscious mind and subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind can be extremely helpful, for example, executing thousands of decisions that enable you to drive safely while you focus your attention elsewhere. However, in this case, you spent many months programming these instructions into your mind so you know how they got there. What is scary to contemplate is the unknown content of your subconscious mind that can arise at any moment and subvert your emotions, thoughts and behavior. It takes work to confront rejected portions of yourself and traumas that you repressed; but, it all begins with the gift of awareness. This is the gift that will expose self-serving biases if you listen to and watch yourself without judgment. The special time to do this is when you attempt to justify your thoughts and actions to yourself. What stories do you tell yourself? What rationalizations to you use to prove you were in the right? Do you play the role of the victim? Do you stubbornly defend your position by rejecting all evidence that conflicts with your beliefs? Are you so sure you are right that your brain filters out all the evidence that doesn’t reinforce your pre-existing prejudices? (You discover the contradictory evidence was there upon later examination.) Listen to and watch yourself again, without judgment, once you become aware of some of these self-justification traps and your awareness will rapidly grow. Then listen to and watch others without passing judgment and without revealing yourself and you will learn how they think, feel and act. Then hold this mirror of others up to yourself when you listen to and watch yourself once again. Your reward is freedom. Once you know yourself you will no longer feel the necessity to justify yourself to yourself or to others. You are now able to view others with a much higher degree of kindness and compassion. Of course, the tendency to justify yourself and use a defense mechanism will appear from time to time but your awareness quickly spots them and you refuse to energize them. How wonderful it is to live without this burden!