Let’s say you are going to take the bus. It’s a short trip, so paying the bus fare seems like a lot of money, but you are too tired to walk. When waiting in line to get in, you notice that the driver is not paying attention at all. You decide to sneak in without paying. If you don’t get caught, you continue the day like nothing happened. You know what you did was wrong, but are mostly just happy about the money you saved.
But what if the driver does notice, and as you are walking past him, points out that you didn’t pay? You will probably fire up all kinds of excuses: “I forgot!”, “I didn’t know you had to!” or “I do had a ticket but I dropped it somewhere!” You do all this even though you know you were doing something wrong to begin with.
Getting caught sucks. When we get caught, we try to justify the “crime” to ourselves by any means possible (“The bus company makes enough money anyway” or “But that one time I bought a ticket and didn’t use it”), all the while knowing that what we did was wrong.
“I didn’t break the rules!”
From time to time, we see examples of this on our social media services. When we spot someone breaking the rules, we either give them a warning or a timeout, depending on which rule was broken and in what way, and the history of the rule-breaker.
Sometimes we see kids complain about their punishments. Some can be very loud in their complaints. Instead of learning from the warning, the person decides to make a big (and sometimes public) deal out of it. Swear words fly around when the person acclaims that we’re unfair and that all rules are stupid.
Of course we may have made a mistake and given a punishment without good reason. It’s not common, but it can happen. Then the right thing to do would be to contact us and get the thing sorted out.
Often we can conclude that the loud complaining is actually the person’s conscience talking – but it is difficult to admit that something you did was wrong. It can be easier to start believing that “the whole world” is against you, and that you most certainly are a victim!
There are two sides to every story, but one of the sides can be hiding underneath guilt. Because, you know, “the bus driver did it on purpose just to annoy me” – it had nothing to do with you trying to sneak in for free.