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Last Updated on September 8, 2020 by


(known concept)

  1. the justification or excusing of oneself or one’s actions. (Source: Google)
  2. describes how, when a person encounters cognitive dissonance, or a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their beliefs, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior. (Source: Wikipedia)


A lie is made to cover up guilt or to get others to believe something that is untrue in order to “save face”. It relates to the relationship with others. Self-justification, while also an untruth relates to relationship with self. It is an internal persuasion done to protect the ego, justify actions and to avoid any negative feelings of making a bad decision, being duped or finding out what was once believed was incorrect. 

“It allows people to convince themselves that what they did was the best thing they could have done. In fact, come to think of it, it was the right thing.”

Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Self-justification can be a method of self sabotage. When we believe something to be true, even if we are shown substantial evidence proving otherwise, we can feel the need to protect our false belief at all costs. This is done to avoid any cognitive dissonance or discomfort —even if the momentary discomfort will end up yielding great benefits. With this, we can potentially go in the wrong direction, compound loses and hurt ourselves or keep ourselves from opportunities and reaching our goals. 

Featured image photo by Drew Coffman


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About the author

Hi! My name is Lyndsey Getty, the founder of The Thought Method Company. In these articles I use my unique experience and knowledge to explain complex topics in an accessible way so you can improve your thoughts. Likes, shares and comments are greatly appreciated ❤️

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