Before I get into today’s post, please keep in mind that today is a celebration of the life and legacy of a man who brought hope to America. Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Okay, now we talk.
During my Movement Improv class in my freshman year, my teacher always told us something that stuck with me to this day: to “be unapologetic” in everything we do.
At first I was like, ‘HUH?!’ What the heck did that even mean?! I just wanted to get through that class because I had never done improvisation before. I was so afraid of being “wrong” or “messing up.” But here’s the thing: you CAN’T “mess up” in an improvisation class. Why? Because it’s YOUR own, authentic movement!
Not only was he a genius for telling us that, but this idea of being “unapologetic” applies to all areas of life.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the word “sorry” in the past year.
It’s kinda sad, actually. I’ve been trying to be more conscious of it because I do say it quite a bit…..for things that aren’t even my fault. How backwards is that?
This study revealed that women often apologize more than men. This doesn’t mean that men resist taking responsibility for their actions, but it actually means that they “have a higher threshold for what they think warrants reparation.”
If someone walked down the street and bumped into me, I would apologize. If I arrived a minute late to meet a friend, I would apologize. When someone was dancing all up in my space, I would apologize and move away. WHAT? I don’t know where the need to constantly apologize came from, but I do know I’m not alone. Check out this brief podcast about women apologizing more than men.
For me, saying sorry felt like a “verbal hiccup.” The word started to lose its meaning, as things often do when you say or do something too much without thinking. Time to cut that out. I don’t want to let my constant apologies define me as someone who is fearful of what others think; I’m only human, right?
I’ve decided to stop apologizing for little things or things that aren’t even my fault. I’ve decided to stop apologizing for being a woman in the world with a mind, body, and soul. This month, I challenge you to try ditching the following automatic apologies, and see if you notice a change in how you feel about yourself and others.
(Maybe make it one of your “3 In 3” goals I talked about before!)
Things to Stop Apologizing For:
1. Asking for something you want
Imagine you were going to ask your supervisor/boss for a raise because you knew you deserved it. Would you start that sentence with something like, “Sorry, but I was wondering…”? Don’t worry, there’s no shame in it. I have a news flash for you though: no one is perfect, and doubting your own abilities will do nothing but frustrate you, especially in the workplace. If you show up and put in the work, it’s a good thing to be asking for more responsibility or a promotion. Realize that you are allowed to ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say “no.”
2. Saying “no” to something
I know this one too well! During my sophomore year I accepted almost every offer I received to be in other people’s pieces, and where did that leave me? Miserable, overworked, tired, and stressed all the time. Lesson learned! Know that you are only one person, and you don’t need to (and can’t) do everything to please everyone. You are allowed to decline things that don’t serve you, value your time, and still be kind.
3. Taking up space
How many times have you been in a crowded grocery store or walked down the street and apologized for being in someone’s way? For me, that used to be a huge problem. Politeness and kindness matter, but there’s a big difference between saying “excuse me” and “I’m sorry.” Understand that you were put on this Earth to LIVE. You are allowed to take up space with your body, to move through physical space with your body, and to walk down the street without saying sorry left and right.
4. Stating your opinion
It’s common for us to feel timid about voicing our opinions on something that differs from the majority, especially in school or the workplace. It’s okay to disagree with friends or family too, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Beginning an opinion with “I’m sorry but…” is usually unnecessary. As long as you’re respectful and still willing to hear the other person’s point of view, there should be no problem.
5. Doing what you love
Growing as a person through college has allowed me to care less and less about what people think. To be honest, most people aren’t thinking about me anyway. That may sound harsh, but honestly, in general, everyone is more concerned with themselves than you may think. All I could do was make up reasons for them to judge me for doing something. Here’s what I say to that: you don’t need to apologize for doing what you love to do, especially if that means doing it by yourself. There is no reason to feel ashamed about spending a night alone, relaxing, reading a good book, or getting something to eat by yourself. Ditching a crowded party for a night in with wine and Netflix? WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!
Oh yeah, tomorrow marks the start of my LAST SEMESTER OF COLLEGE! Let’s go!!!
Now tell me…
- Do you struggled with “over-apologizing?”
- What does your ideal Friday night look like?