According to Freud, rationalization is a psychological process individuals employ to protect themselves from the discomfort or anxiety caused by their own actions or thoughts that conflict with their internal values or societal norms.
It could be something that we have done or, at times, something that someone else has done, which causes discomfort. We not only rationalize actions and the things we have done, but we also find a reason for our beliefs, models, values and other inner structures and thoughts.
Rationalization isn't just about actions—it also influences beliefs, models, values, and inner thoughts. Uncover how it can impact our perception of reality.
Let's explore a real-life example: someone who rationalizes not getting a job. He may rationalize and say, “I did not want this job anyway”. Temporarily this rationalization is helpful because it helps him overcome the disappointment of being rejected. Once he gets over this disappointment, he may go ahead and work towards developing his skills.
1. There's the "silver lining" perspective, where individuals believe that everything unfolds for the best, urging them to uncover hidden blessings. For instance, someone rejected for a job might say, "I didn't get this job because something better awaits."
2. The other rationalization is the "sour grapes phenomenon," derived from Aesop's tale of a fox dismissing unattainable grapes as sour. In the same vein, the person might express, "I wasn't really interested in this job anyway."