For most of my life, I was able to justify doing just about anything I wanted to do, even if it was incredibly hurtful or selfish.

(That’s hard to admit, but let’s see if I can keep going….)

After, I would mentally review — over and over and over — all the things I would say if I was called out, accused, or thrown under the bus. I would tell myself — over and over and over — that I was justified based on whatever logic I had formulated.

I didn’t understand at the time, but this need for self-justification was my conscience condemning me for being a hypocrite. Then I had a realization one day. An epiphany, really, because it was life-changing:

If I do what’s right, I won’t have to justify myself or my actions.

If I treat others the way I want to be treated, I can have a clear conscience.

If I practice high honor, I don’t have to keep going over these planned explanations in my mind. I don’t have to prepare for arguments or accusations. I can simply stand on the truth.

It’s not that I never make mistakes or do anything hurtful anymore. The difference between back then and today are my intent (at the outset) and how I handle the consequences of my actions (afterward). There’s a big difference between past me and present me.

It’s a process, and there is always more room to grow.