While sitting and leisurely enjoying time, music, and the latest overpriced coffee drink in my local book behemoth, I overheard an interesting conversation. Granted, I only heard one side of the conversation but it was enough for me to realize that: We spend too much time justifying our actions and decisions, even when they are right for us.

The young lady was obviously in a conversation that should have been taken “offline” as they say in the business world. The first portion was basically to paraphrase, ‘I think you spend too much time with other girls, I don’t find it appropriate and I believe that you are encouraging it’. She proceeded with reasoning for her feelings and actions that she perceived as challenging to her relationship with the person on the other end.

Her next words spoken after moments of quiet (again paraphrased): ‘I’m sorry for my attitude, I regret how this is coming across’ and then the words that prompted this article….”I do want kids at some point, when I’m settled, have a comfortable lifestyle, and things that I need…please”. She continued to justify what sounded like her reasoning behind being level-headed to someone who obviously questioned why they couldn’t have what they wanted from her now and therefore were more comfortable exploring their options (most likely while keeping her engaged).

This is when the curious side of me overpowered my etiquette and I turned to observe the individual having the conversation that now included all lounging patrons. I had to see the body language of someone in the midst of apologizing for their principles. There she was….young, vulnerable, beautiful, and brown. Sadness etched in her brow, shoulders lurching forward, hand on chin…unsure. Repeating words that she had heard before, that she was convinced were right, but that she still hadn’t learned to say with full conviction.

Our eyes met, hers cut at the “older” woman taking her in. Wanting to ask me “what you looking at?” but just enough aware of her elders to halt at that level of indignation. My eyes said, “hold fast, I hear you, make sure he does”. I gave her a half-smile, slight nod and turned my head.

As I watched her leave with a less aware friend in tow (based on the encouragement of the friend to call him back), I knew that I had missed the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The opportunity to help her understand that she never has to justify her decisions to do the right thing, to live a better life, to be a woman of principle. The other opportunity to congratulate her for the small step that she was already making toward that end.

When you justify morally sound principle and conviction, you devalue self. There is no other way to put it. I say to all of you young women, embarking on a collegiate, career, or relationship path…be of sound conviction (this is applicable to all areas of life). Start now, there will be plenty of times as you mature when you realize that a concrete foundation has to be given time to solidify. The longer it sits the greater you are able to withstand the vibrations of life that will surely reach out for you.


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