Why are women inclined to not only say “I’m sorry,” but also end that apology with an explanation? We are prone to over-apologize and sometimes we even have the gall to feel bad that we say no. For the love of our peace of mind ladies (and gentleman), you must stop apologizing for who you are. You owe nothing to anyone other than to show respect. By all means, if you’ve done something bad, made an error or wronged someone, apologize. But if your knee-jerk response is to start or end with an apology for just doing you, we’ve got to change that up! I want to share with you the five times (at least) you need to rein it in, and stop apologizing for who you are (and for that matter what you want).
The most obvious time you should be able to say no, without apology, is when dealing with a friend who has asked you out. It will not be the last time you and your friend will be able to ‘brunch so hard,’ grab a glass of rose’ or catch the latest and greatest act at the arena. There will always be something or someone great for you to create amazing moments with your girl/s. Whether you have to be with your babies, work obligations or your head is just not in the mental space and you would rather binge watch a full season of Sex and the City on Amazon Video, it’s. your. business. No additional details other than ‘I can’t make it,’ are required.
When you are going for the big ask at work, do not cripple your chances of success by being apologetic for asking for what you deserve. Professionally, there are few things more deflating than a woman who prefaces her ask with, “I realize this may not be a good time…” or “I hate to ask this but….” or maybe even, “I’m sorry to bring this to you, like this…” Direct, straightforward communication backed with facts is the winner. No preamble, no apologies. Go for what you know ladies. Know and make your case of why you are asking for what you are asking for. Then, in the words of comedian Kevin Hart, “say it with your chest!”
Please do not apologize for the way you feel. You feel what you feel, own it. Accept it. DO NOT apologize for it. Let me share this example – there have been times friends have come to me for advice on their relationships. The situations may not have been the most healthy. Too often my friends would apologize to me for still caring about the men that were reaping emotional heartache over their lives before asking for my advice or apologize while justifying why they continued to deal with the drama. To hear my friends, who I love, apologize for the feelings they could not yet break was profound and unnecessary to me. My advice? Let go of the thought of bringing your feelings in line with societal expectations. At least let go of being all apologetic for not meeting some nonsensical level of social desirability. Apologizing for YOUR emotions is not “good etiquette.” Have I beaten that horse enough?
In the same vein, own your success and accomplishments unapologetically. It’s important to talk about your promotion, the innovation and creativity in the workplace you are leading, your academic accomplishments…all of it. It is inspiring and motivating so let’s not downplay it or verbally shorten our resumes when talking about who we are and what we are doing. I’m not by any means saying humble-brag or flat out brag, let’s just agree to stop apologizing for our accomplishments and making our hard work seem less impressive than it really is. Enough said.
Appearance, that big and little outer enemy that can add layers to our insecurities, has caused an apology black hole! ‘Sorry my house is a mess…,’ and ‘sorry I was running late and couldn’t fix my hair,’ or ‘sorry my little one spilled milk on my pants’ – the list goes on. So what! Stop apologizing for who you are and what you think you look like. For those who want to the added pressure of never being caught off guard with a hair out of place, without their lippy and their lashes or a full uniform…that’s great. But it does not have to be “our” (collective) pressure. We, as women do not have to aspire to that or apologize for it. Period.
Let’s just stop saying I’m sorry so much, period. Sorry to bother you (are you really)? Sorry for the delay in responding (chances are very high whoever you are apologizing to is busy as well and hadn’t noticed). I’m sorry but I disagree (can’t you simply disagree? Diversity in thought is healthy). Let’s kick this burdensome, reflexive habit. Stop apologizing for who you are. Be fearless, be brave, be unapologetic. While we are at it, let’s make sure to show all the young girls we interact with the beauty in doing the same.
Appreciate you all!