Bad Behavior? Don’t Make Excuses

A friend of mine – a therapist in a halfway house – once described a harrowing incident where a burly Hell’s Angel guy barged into a group therapy session, hollering and waving his arms around like a maniac. He was was having an “episode” that would’ve scared the bejeezus out of the toughest cookie on the block.

“Use your manners, would ya?” said the group therapy leader. “Turn around and come back in quietly.”

And then – fuming and puffing – Mr. Rage just…stopped. “Oh. Okay then.” He left the room, re-opened the door, walked in and sat down in the nearest empty seat. Calmly.

Just like that.
Standards work wonders.

When we routinely accept people’s poor behavior, we block the chances for radical change to occur. Excuses repress clarity. Justifications crowd out transformation.

I once worked with someone who was bi-polar manic depressive, and we always chalked up their behavior to their illness. We let them off the hook for all sorts of crappy behavior. But nasty is nasty, and mean is mean, and my standards are higher than that.

So next time your mother is a bit well, you know. Or your grouchy neighbor is a grouch, as usual. Or your super-stressed boss loses her cool because she’s, well, super-stressed. Call it at face value. Don’t let foul manners off the hook. Bad behavior is bad behavior – all afflictions and psych 101 labels aside.

Common sense is a mighty powerful agent for change.

Editor’s Note: Danielle LaPorte is the creator of, which has been called “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.” She is the author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs, an inspirational speaker, former think tank exec, and news show commentator. You can read all of Danielle’s EcoSalon guest articles here, and find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte.