“I’m sorry.” Have you ever counted how often you say that phrase in one day? And thought about some of the things you are apologizing for? I’ve recently started noticing some of the times I’ll say, “I’m sorry.” I was appalled.
For example, I apologized to my husband for asking him to move out of my way so I could get to a drawer in the kitchen. I was literally working on this article.
There are many reasons why women, in particular, tend to over-apologize. People sometimes see us as being pushy or rude when we express our opinion. Sometimes our safety can depend on making sure we don’t anger the man who asked us on a date. Our upbringing could have trained us that we’re responsible for everyone else’s unhappiness.
But we hurt ourselves when we apologize too often or when we apologize for things that aren’t our fault. Apologizing for things that aren’t our fault can kill our self-confidence. Plus, it can cause other people to view us as incompetent.
So, let’s start owning our power. Let’s stop making ourselves feel bad for things we don’t need to worry about. Let’s be good role models for the women coming after us.
Here are 25 things you can stop apologizing for right now.
- 1. Asking for What You Need
- 2. Wanting Nice Things
- 3. Giving Your Opinion
- 4. Asking Questions
- 5. Having Trouble Understanding
- 6. Asking for Help
- 7. Your Age
- 8. How Other People Behave
- 9. Things Beyond Your Control
- 10. Being “Too Emotional”
- 11. Who You Are
- 12. Your Hobbies and Interests
- 13. Not Wanting to Try Something New
- 14. Your Goals and Dreams for Your Life
- 15.Changing Your Mind
- 16. Listening to Your Gut
- 17. If Someone Hurts You
- 18. How You Look
- 19. What You Eat
- 20. Your Boundaries
- 21. Your Parenting
- 22. Who You Love
- 23. Your Past Decisions
- 24. Your Success
- 25. Your Failures
- What is Something You’re Refusing to Apologize For?
1. Asking for What You Need
We’re taught from a young age that we need to be polite and not cause a scene. So when we need something – whether it’s help with a project or more time to finish our work – we often apologize for asking.
Asking for what you need is a way of taking care of yourself, which is something we should all be doing. You never need to apologize for asking something you need.
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2. Wanting Nice Things
I often struggle with this one. My mother believed wanting things like a nice car or a big house was unchristian. She thought we should always be focusing on our relationship with God.
It took me far too long to realize that a loving God wants us to be happy. There’s no need to apologize for what you want.
3. Giving Your Opinion
This one takes me back to my PTA days. Imagine a room full of women discussing fund-raising ideas. Every time someone makes a suggestion, they start with this. “I’m sorry if this has already been talked about, but we possibly could…” I’m not making fun of the other PTA volunteers. I did it too!
Every person has a right to their own opinion. The next time you feel like apologizing for giving your opinion, remind yourself that your voice deserves to be heard.
If you have an opinion on something, don’t be afraid to share it – even if it’s controversial. There’s no need to water down your beliefs or opinions to appease someone else. You’re entitled to your own thoughts and feelings. And the other people around you are entitled to theirs.
4. Asking Questions
“I’m sorry, I just have one quick question.” Have you ever said that? I have. And you know what? It’s okay to ask questions!
Asking questions shows that you’re interested and engaged. So go ahead and ask away – without feeling the need to apologize first.
5. Having Trouble Understanding
Have you ever dealt with condescension from your younger co-workers for having difficulty learning something new? Something like how to present over Zoom maybe?
If that’s happened to you, you don’t need to apologize for not understanding. Everyone struggles occasionally with new concepts. If you’re having problems understanding, it’s not a reflection of your value as a person.
6. Asking for Help
Similarly, so many of us feel like we don’t have the right to ask for help when we need it. We fear that we’ll seem weak or incompetent, especially if we need help with a work issue.
Once again, it’s helpful to remind yourself that everyone needs help with something at some point. You might find it difficult to ask for help, but it’s much harder to struggle needlessly.
Whether you’re asking a friend for advice or reaching out to a professional, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
7. Your Age
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are. At some point, you might feel awkward because of your age.
If you’re the oldest person in the room, there’s no need to apologize or feel “less than” because of your age. You have wisdom and perspective to share and that knowledge is valuable.
8. How Other People Behave
I call this “the curse of being responsible for everything.” We aren’t, of course, but we often feel as if we should be. There are many things we can’t control in life and one of the things we can’t control is the actions of other people.
If someone else makes a mistake, is in a bad mood, or is rude to someone else, you don’t need to apologize on their behalf. Let the other person deal with the consequences of their actions. You don’t need to apologize for them.
9. Things Beyond Your Control
This is another consequence of feeling responsible for everything and everyone around you. If you plan a picnic and it rains, that isn’t your fault. If you’re late for an event because of unexpected traffic, you aren’t to blame.
You don’t need to apologize for things that are out of your control. Instead of apologizing, try switching your focus to dealing with the problem. Your apology can’t make a situation better, but you can help out by figuring out a useful solution.
10. Being “Too Emotional”
Sometimes it seems like everyone around me is a pragmatic stoic who never gets frustrated, angry or frightened, while I am a quivering mess who can’t control how she feels. Does that sound familiar?
Here’s the good news, then, for us both: everyone’s feelings are valid and appropriate. What’s more, it’s perfectly normal to show your feelings and you’re not weak or crazy if you do. In fact, it takes a lot of strength to be open and honest about how you feel.
You don’t need to apologize for how you feel and for showing your emotions. It’s much healthier to focus on expressing your emotions in an appropriate manner rather than apologizing for how you feel or (ugh) being “too emotional.”.
11. Who You Are
If you’re an introvert who likes to stay in on Friday nights, do not apologize! If you prefer dogs to children (or vice versa), do not apologize! Your preferences and personality traits are not things to be sorry about. They make you who you are, and that is something to celebrate.
I want to see midlife women refusing to apologize for being their authentic selves. Learn to embrace your quirks and kinks! Trying to be someone you’re not will only wear you down in the long run, so it’s important to find peace with who you are.
12. Your Hobbies and Interests
Our weird and unusual hobbies and interests make life more interesting for everyone. Unfortunately, too often we feel a little ashamed of things that shouldn’t bother us. If you like to dress your bearded dragon up to celebrate a holiday, let everyone know!
You don’t need to apologize for the things you find interesting. It doesn’t mean you’re shallow or vapid if you’re avidly following the whole Kanye West/Pete Davidson feud. If someone gives you a hard time about your interests, shrug it off. There’s nothing to apologize for.
13. Not Wanting to Try Something New
For years, I used to make excuses about why I didn’t want to go on the roller coaster at the amusement park. And for years, my friends gave me reason after reason why I should. I finally said, “Look I’m not going to do that. I’m afraid and I don’t want to go on the ride.” They never asked again.
If you don’t want to do something, own it and announce it! We’re all scared or hesitant about certain things, whether that’s riding an amusement park ride or trying sushi for the first time. Don’t let anyone pressure you to “get over your silly fears.” Only you should decide if you’re ready to try something new.
14. Your Goals and Dreams for Your Life
You’re the only person who’s living your life so you’re the only person affected by your goals and dreams. If someone tries to discourage you or judge you for what you want to achieve in life, ignore them.
Don’t give up on your dreams because of someone else’s opinion. You don’t want to look back at your life and feel bitter about the chances you didn’t take.
15.Changing Your Mind
What if you change your mind about what you want in life? What if you decide it’s time for a new direction?
You’re not required to follow the same path your whole life. If you change your mind, don’t apologize for it. People change their minds all the time, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
16. Listening to Your Gut
You met a guy online and now you two are meeting for coffee. Something about him makes your hair stand on end, but you can’t put your finger on why and he seems so nice. Now he wants the two of you to go for a walk in a nearby park and he seems hurt that you’re hesitant to get in his car.
As the hosts of one my favorite podcasts, My Favorite Murder, say, “Listen to your gut and fuck politeness.” Listening to your gut and refusing to apologize for your decisions could very well keep you alive.
17. If Someone Hurts You
Let’s imagine, though, that you didn’t to your gut and got in the car with your date. And then he hurt you. Are you going to apologize to your loved ones for putting yourself in a dangerous situation?
No, baby, you are not. If someone hurts you, IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT. It is ALWAYS the fault of the person who hurt you. Don’t apologize.
18. How You Look
Did you (whispers) gain weight over the pandemic? Do you (gasp) look different from the way you did at 25? Do you have WRINKLES?
Guess what? You’re still beautiful, you’re still valuable, you ‘re still worthy of love and respect. And you don’t need to apologize for the way you look, no matter how much society tells you otherwise.
You don’t have to be skinny to be happy and you don’t have to apologize for your weight. Everyone is different and there is no one “right” weight.
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19. What You Eat
If you want the cheesecake, you deserve to have the cheesecake, even if you have a few extra pounds to lose. Don’t let someone else’s opinion or your own feelings of how you should eat affect your behavior.
This applies to you as well when you’re being pressured to join the group in “being bad” and sharing a dessert. If you don’t want the dessert, you can say no without apologizing.
20. Your Boundaries
You have the right to set boundaries around anything in your life you want to protect. This includes your time, your energy, your emotions, or anything that’s important to you.
You can protect yourself however you see fit. Stop apologizing for saying no, for taking a break, or for putting yourself first. Your needs are as important as anyone else’s.
21. Your Parenting
Only you can make decisions for you and your family. Mou might decide to help your grown child by giving them a down payment for a house. Or you might feel that once your kids are grown, they should be fully independent and not need anything from you.
Either way, you don’t need to apologize for your parenting style. You also don’t need to justify your parenting decisions or feel guilty about your choices. You made the decision that was right for you and your family and that’s all that matters.
22. Who You Love
You should never feel that you have to apologize for who you love. If you want to, you can choose to give the man who cheated on you a second chance. You can decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with the woman who was your best friend. You can live with your boyfriend without getting married. You can live happily alone with your cats.
You don’t have to explain your relationship status to anyone. You certainly don’t need to apologize for being happy.
23. Your Past Decisions
This one really gets to me. How many times in your life have you shared something that happened only to be shamed because “you made the wrong decision.” Everyone seems like they’re just waiting to come out of the woodwork to let you know what “you should have done.”
Did you lose your debit card because you put it in your pocket instead of your wallet after using it? Well, you should have taken the time to put it back in the correct place.
No one is perfect all the time. No one sees all the consequences of a choice they make. Don’t apologize for your past decisions. After all, you were doing the best you could with information you had at the time.
24. Your Success
We often feel that people will begin to resent and dislike us if we succeed at something. Or we worry that we seem like we’re bragging if we admit we’re excited about a recent success.
However, minimizing or apologizing for a success keeps you achieving future success. And apologizing for being successful won’t smooth things over with your jealous friend.
If you’re a successful person you have every right to enjoy your success. There’s no need to apologize. Instead, look ahead to your future successes!
25. Your Failures
You also don’t need to apologize for trying something that didn’t work out for you. You’re not a failure because something you attempted didn’t pan out; we all have things that don’t go our way.
What matters is how you learn from your failures. Now you can use that knowledge to inform your future decisions. You should feel proud that you took a chance and tried something new. No need to beat yourself up or apologize because you failed.
What is Something You’re Refusing to Apologize For?
What’s something you’re refusing to apologize for these days? Let us know in the comments!