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  • Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

Who gives you the most generous "pass" of all?  

I deserve it. I am justified. No one else would, so I needed to. Just this time.

You recognize the trope.

"It's the end of the season, I'll just get one more Blizzard..."

"I am so stretched at work that no one can expect me not to yell - they are idiots!"

"If others had experienced what I have, they would understand how miserable my life is... I deserve to suffer."

There are two witnesses to our choices and justifications. One is the "other" in the room - our coworkers, partners, children. They watch what we do and we can "stage" situations carefully (and remarkably quickly) to make the snarky comment or ordering the extra cheese curds feel justified and ok.

But what about the other witness? That one is harder to hide our true intent from...

The other, most critical witness, is ourselves. When we look with clear eyes and an open heart, we become aware of our real intent.

And that, if we are honest, can be either overwhelming or liberating, and usually both.

The real intent of the blizzard is to fill the itchy emptiness that comes from boredom.

The real intent of the ugly words is to release frustration and anger about a perceived wrong.

The real intent of creating too much room for suffering is to keep us from taking risks that feel unfamiliar.

How might being aware of both witnesses help us become more honest with ourselves and create room to more courageously walk our talk?

Consider these three steps...

Notice when you justify. Justifying is a clever tool to make something "ok" that actually isn't. Notice when you lean on it to relieve your discomfort. When you give yourself a generous "pass." Make a mental note and while you're at it, consider how often you "justify" the same type of issues - anger, food choices, boundary crossing. The opportunities are endless. Notice.

Stay present. Consider an image that you can bring to mind each time you are aware enough to notice that you are justifying - does it feel like coming up into the light for air? Or watching the clouds part? Simply sitting with the awareness can be the hardest and most liberating part of the challenge.

Be clear and honest with yourself. As your most important witness, you are the only one who can truly know intent. Listen for the "ping" in your body that helps you recognize truth. And then, even if you go ahead with the Blizzard or the angry words, know WHY you are doing it and consider if you will make a different choice next time and how, if you do, the overall outcome might change.

Notice how being aware of both witnesses can help you to become more honest with yourself and create room to more courageously walk your talk. Hard work? You bet. But it will pay off handsomely in future alignment as you continue on your journey.

Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.


Hello, I'm Ricka.

Ricka Kohnstamm Executive & Physician Coach Profile Photo

I'm a Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coach. I specialize in working with physician leaders, corporate leaders, non-profit executives and their families to navigate complex work and personal issues so they can strengthen their relationships, heal, and feel hopeful about the future again. 



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