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.