“I’m Sorry” for Apologizing
I’ll admit it – I’m an over-apologizer. At least, I used to be. I’m working on it.
Recently I’ve begun to notice just how often I say sorry about things… which usually aren’t even my fault in the first place. Stupid things, silly things that I have no place to even be apologizing for. I’ve started to reflect on why this is. Is this part and parcel to my upbringing in my family? Does this have to do with my culture? Could this be because of my gender?
I don’t have clear, concrete answers to these questions, only guesses and speculation. In my estimation, I’d say a large part of my tendency to apologize plays out because I was raised in a household where politeness was highly valued. I believe another large part has to do with me being female; the femininity that I was socialized into embraces politeness as a core virtue, for that is a characteristic of “ladies”.
Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to apologize. Saying sorry has its place if it is deserved in the situation – not, however, when it is sprinkled about liberally in every single situation, essentially nullifying the powerful effect it once had. And I think it’s fair of me to reason that I may not be the only one struggling with this issue. So I want to come clean and vow to be more mindful from now on of each and every time I find myself apologizing for something. Am I truly sorry for what I’ve done? Is it even something I have done (because why would I apologize if it isn’t my fault)? Or am I just blurting out “I’m sorry” out of habit with no meaning in it?
This isn’t earth-shattering news or a shocking revelation; in the grand scheme of things, this “issue” could be seen as quite trivial. But it doesn’t seem trivial to me. In the efforts to empower myself (and, consequently, others around me), I believe that I owe myself respect, a respect that is undermined if I am constantly apologizing for whatever happens to me or around me and happens to maybe, possibly, affect other people around me. Self-respect starts when I no longer feel the need to apologize incessantly for what I’m doing at any moment in time. Self-respect starts when I can own my autonomy and be confident in my decisions, whether they are large or small.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Andrew Storms