Justifiable isn’t good enough

Seth Godin is an author and blogger. His post today made the point that you can always justify your behavior, but behaving in a justifiable way is not the correct goal — instead you should behave in a way that will be successful, or will help you and the people around you be happy, or will make the world a bit better than it was.

So, of course, I was justified the other day in getting angry at the driver who cut me off, but that anger did not do anything productive. It didn’t help me be happy and it certainly didn’t help the other driver realize what he’d done. (After all, he was busy with his cell phone!)

What struck me about Seth’s post is that, as a lawyer who deals with a lot of child custody issues, I often have to counsel clients not to take completely justified actions against their exes. It can be a major challenge, though, because those actions are how they’ve always related to each other.

Example: “She sends me a snotty text about how the kids are too busy to talk to me on the phone tonight, so I send her a (justified) text right back about how she overdoes it with activities for the kids and if she really cared about their well-being, she would take them out of some of those activities and let them have time to have a relationship with their dad for once!”

It is a constant struggle for parents, each of whom have been genuinely aggrieved by the other, to get past that feeling of “Justified” and move on to a better approach. Are you justified in feeling upset? Sure. Are you justified in complaining to the judge? You bet. Do those feelings or complaints benefit you or your children in the long run? Often not.

If you or someone you care about are struggling with these issues, you don’t have to struggle alone. At Learned Lawyer, we focus not only on helping you through your legal issues, but also on improving your overall approach to your child custody situation. If that sounds like help you could use, please call us today!

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