The third filter, the third layer, is pseudoreasoning, rationalization, explanations, excuses. All are borrowed. Not a single one is your own authentic experience, but they give a kind of satisfaction: you think you are a very rational being.

This can vary from the basic poison of making an excuse not to do something you want to do, such as not calling a friend who you miss because they haven’t called you recently, or the more complex poison where you rationalize away situations and events in order to feel better, instead of exploring what the feeling is telling you.

For me, it’s easy to find comfort in rationalizations. They calm my mind, it seems. Most of my journey has been spent observing myself, explaining my behavior, and trying to understand and rationalize my thoughts. How much harm has this secretly done? What cost is there to rationalizations, no matter how savory, such as one of my favorites: this too shall pass? What deeper seeded feelings and personalities and thoughts am I suppressing with this borrowed language? What if instead of trying to understand and explain – I felt what needed to be felt or I expressed whatever needed to be expressed and let out, whatever personality arose, fearful, hateful, depressed, even psychopathic laughing, screeching. Get it out. It wants me to take action, to say something, to change something, to do something. I, however, breathe and whisper this too shall pass.

Perhaps this is why these absolute truths and reminders are never effective when you’re helping a friend through a difficult time. Although you can remind them, I know you know this, but this too shall pass – in their emotional, pain-ridden state, that has nothing to do with who they are. Your rationalizations don’t help. They just want to be felt and understood.

What if instead, we remind them about authentic truths. We talk about their real journey, what they have gone through, how much they’ve learned and grown, how valuable they are. We talked about how they now feel sadness and grief at the loss of a beautiful thing. Something they had the opportunity to experience and to play with and to love. Something that if they made many sacrifices for, and they took many chances for, and if they didn’t change they would have never had to opportunity to be with that beauty. But they tried. They cared. Just something pushed them in a different direction. And all those opportunities to play with that beauty helped them change and see the world with new colors. And now they are here. About to embark on a new journey. Filled with new beautiful things. And even more colors. Just waiting to be seen.

Or you can go on making excuses, rationalizations, and explanations. It’s your life.

Next: [Sentimentality.](