6 Things To Stop Apologizing For This Year
There's nothing wrong with apologizing when we have genuinely done something that warrants asking for forgiveness, but how often do we apologize for things out of habit or that absolutely do not require us to. Do you have a "sorry addiction"? Do the words "I'm sorry" roll off of your tongue thoughtlessly throughout your day. I feel like this affliction affects women more so than it does men. I'm not sure why exactly that is. I'm sure that there are psychological reasons for it, but I'm not going to get into that. The truth is that many of us apologize over and over throughout the day when we don't need to and every time that we do it, we are undermining our authority and credibility with others and ourselves.
Here are a few things you should absolutely
stop apologizing for.
1. Your Appearance (physical and/or your home)
How many times have you said, "Sorry, I have no make up on." or "Sorry, I've been running around all day and haven't had time to shower." or "Sorry, my house is a mess." Here's the truth, you don't need to apologize because you do not need to be perfectly put together or even sort of put together all of the time. You don't need to justify why you aren't wearing make up or have on yesterday's clothes. You are who you are, you do not need to apologize for it, nor do you need to feel guilty about it. We put so much pressure on ourselves. I know I have felt guilty for putting on weight and then felt guilty for feeling guilty because I should love my body. As women, we put so many unnecessary pressures on ourselves to be put together. It's time we stop apologizing for the times that we aren't and yes...that includes the classic, "I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have another cookie." Insinuating that you shouldn't because it will affect your weight. Why are you sorry girl? The cookies are delicious! Enjoy without feeling the need to ask for forgiveness.
2. Your Feelings
This is a big one! "I'm sorry I'm so emotional" we all too often say. So often times being emotional is associated with being irrational. Being sensitive has been deemed by many as a weakness and that is just not accurate. Feeling something deeply means being deeply connected and aware which is a gift. We all have feelings and we all should express them in a healthy way. Doing so does not make you weak and it does not make you irrational. In fact, not expressing your emotions in a healthy way will lead to expressing them in an unhealthy way, which is something that actually does merit an apology.
3. Saying No
"I'm sorry, but I won't be able to make it to your costume required, Harry Potter themed anniversary party." Maybe you are apologizing because you genuinely feel guilty that you are saying no because you just don't want to go or maybe you are apologizing because it's just habit. The truth is, you don't need to be apologizing for choosing to say no. As long as you are not causing any real harm to anyone, you do have the right to say no without feeling guilty. So often times we say yes to things we really don't want to say yes to or don't really have the time for, and we end up doing more harm with our bad attitudes then we would have if we would have just said no in the first place. So don't apologize for saying no, instead try something like, "It sounds like you guys are going to have a blast. I won't be able to make it, but can't wait to hear all about it."
4-Getting Rid of Toxic People
When it comes to life, as far as we know, we only get one and it's a shame that it takes so many of us so long to realize that our lives will be better served by showing toxic people the door rather than trying to fix them or fix the relationship. I am definitely guilty of this. I feel a twinge of guilt even now just thinking about it. The sooner you realize that you aren't meant to "fix" people and that anyone in your life that hinders your growth, happiness or diminishes your self worth is not worth continuing a relationship with, the better off you will be. This doesn't mean that you have stop loving and/or caring for that person and, if you do stop loving and/or caring for them, that's ok too. The point is to remove them from a position of influence and effectiveness in your life so that you can be the best version of yourself. Something you never need to apologize for.
5-Someone Else's Actions (especially your children)
This may seem like a no brainer, but we do it more than we realize. "I'm sorry, my son didn't get a nap today." or "I'm sorry, he doesn't usually act like this." Here's the deal, if you didn't personally do something wrong or harmful, then you absolutely do not need to apologize. When it comes to kids misbehaving, as parents, we feel such a burden of responsibility for their behavior that we see their actions as direct extensions of ourselves. The truth is, though, that children learn by misbehaving. They learn about consequences and taking responsibility. When you apologize for them, you are taking responsibility and robbing them of the opportunity to learn from that mistake. Instead of apologizing for them, trying thanking the people witnessing the toddler meltdown for their patience while your toddler learns that he has not made a good choice in how to handle his emotions and now will be facing some consequences.
6-Doing What's Best For Yourself
I believe this is an epidemic amongst mothers. We have this innate capacity to feel guilt around anything we do that benefits solely us. I experienced this in a very real way recently when my husband and I separated. My son, who had always been an amazing sleeper started waking up in the middle of the night and struggling going to sleep without me in the room with him. This, then turned into full blown separation anxiety when he started school a month later. I knew that I had made the right choice for me and I didn't come by that choice easily. I wrestled with the decision for years and for this very reason. I had guilt about how it might impact him. What I had to realize is that sometimes I may make a choice that I know is what's best for me and, in the short term, may impact other's, including my son, negatively, but what really matters is the long term. In the long term he will see me happier and healthier. He will have learned, through the separation anxiety, how to deal with those feelings of anxiety and be better equipped if they arise later in life. As I type this now, he is at Chuck E Cheese with his Pops and Nana. I talked with him before they left about needing to get my work done while he plays so that when he gets home, I will be free to play the rest of the day. I was careful not to say, "Sorry bud. Mommy has to work." I'm working on not saying that anymore because it's not something I should be sorry for. Instead I said, "Hey Bud, I would love to go play with you guys, but I have some things I really need to get done so that we have the time to play later. Thank you so much for letting me get my work done. You are gonna have so much fun!" You don't need to apologize for working to make yours and their lives better. You don't need to apologize for taking a trip for yourself. You don't need to apologize for taking a bubble bath or getting your hair done or anything else that makes you better because if it makes you a better version of yourself, everyone else will benefit.
So when should we apologize? When you have hurt someone and are genuinely remorseful for causing them pain, when you have violated a rule/law or when you know that you were in the wrong. There are times that apologies are necessary to own your mistakes and mend relationships, but the more we say those two words, the less meaningful they become. So the next time you start to utter the words, "I'm sorry", take a moment to ask yourself if you are actually to blame for what you are about to apologize for and if the answer is "no", honor yourself in that moment by choosing not to apologize for something that doesn't require it. Most importantly, don't ever apologize for who you are or how you exist.