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What is the difference between a reason and an excuse?

Hey everyone,

a lot of times when I look back at situations that went wrong or mistakes that I have made, and I wonder if that the cause behind certain situations was an actual reasonable reason or just excuses made by me, so I wish I can be more at peace if I know the difference between a reason and an excuse.


Hi Xavier1
You are asking an interesting question. I feel like there is an actual difference between the two. A reason is something that you believe in that causes you to act a certain way. For example i went to eat because i was hungry. You were hungry so you ate. Nothing wrong with that.

An excuse is something you A make up or B exists but you use it not because it is the reason but because it is convenient. For example you are offered a cake by a friend that was made by her. You taste it and it just does not taste good but you dont want to offend her so you say: “It is good but i am on a diet so i will not eat more of it”. It does not matter if you are on a diet or not because it is not the real reason you did not eat the cake. The reason is the cake didnt taste good. The excuse is that you are on a diet.

I hope this made it clear. If not i am sorry :upside_down_face:.

I wish you luck and take care.


pretty great question! How I think about it is reason is the base thing, there’s no layer to it. It is the cause and force behind doing an action or having a thought. I think of an excuse as having layers, so it’s not as one-dimensional as a reason. Excuse is sort of like Reason playing dress-up. The reason I went to the party was because I was feeling lonely. The excuse for why I went to the party is that I didn’t want to disappoint the person who invited me, It was a slow night and I thought they could use the extra guest, And I didn’t have anything else to do.

Not sure if that was clear! (Also, not saying that either Reason or Excuse are simple things, because the reason or motiviation for doing something can also be complex)


Hey @Xavier1,

This is indeed a very interesting and valid question! So many times, people assume that understanding something equals excusing it, which is just not true.

In my humble opinion, a reason is mostly something that holds the potential of making you grow, while an excuse will have a purpose of keeping yourself in the same spot and not learning. I believe that understanding a situation in light of the circumstances that surrounded is also the first step to learn forgiveness or self-forgiveness. Understanding a reason makes seems logical. It gives sense to a result. And basically, if you understand why something happen, you can learn to not make that happen again by trying differently in the future. An excuse, on the opposite, would be mostly a way to say that because the situation makes sense, then it was your right and you don’t need to learn from it.

All in all, it comes to some raw questions which answers are to be found within ourselves:

  • How do I feel about the situation and what am I seeking by trying to make sense out of it? Am I satisfied with how things went, or would I like to make sure to try differently?
  • Am I being honest with myself and am I giving myself a fair amount of grace too, by labelizing this as an excuse or a reason?

Don’t know if this helps at all, but here are just a few thoughts.

I think that the very fact you are asking yourself these things is because, knowing that you also tend to be hard on yourself, you might be afraid of making excuses of situations you don’t want to see being repeated. You are deserving of understanding, Xavier. From yourself, first and foremost. Be aware of how you feel about those two sides of interpretation too, because it indicates also how much grace you might need to give yourself. Which can be pretty challenging! We are generally our worst judge and critics. But it’s absolutely possible to learn differently, progressively.


I have to thank you for this, since I think it helped me find some peace within myself,.although I have some questions and that what do you mean by give myself some grace?I really dont know how to forgive myself,I really dont know.