Men don't do this. Many men don't ever apologize, even if it's something big that they're clearly wrong about. I'm not saying we should never apologize or turn into assholes, but there has to be a limit. We're not indebted to society just by being female, yet I see these powerful, independent, wholly beautiful females continually caving to society's standard of being meek, demure, polite, quiet, subdued little creatures who are expected to not live their lives out loud when men are clearly not held to that same standard.
I think it's time we stop.
I'm my happiest me these days, and a large part of it has come from taking care of myself, especially mentally and emotionally. Yes, read between those lines: I've been putting myself first. I don't owe anyone anything, aside from owing my daughter a great childhood with a great mother...which in turn comes from me being a good, stable, happy person all on my own. And so we're right back to that mental and emotional health piece. See how that works?
I'm done feeling like my happiness comes from others. It comes from within me. I find it by paving my own way, following my heart, listening to my own head, and making my own damn mistakes--not from seeking out my next steps from other people.
Here is a list of things I've generally stopped apologizing for:
- my emotions--if I feel something, I am perfectly valid for feeling it
- missing someone's phone call
- not immediately responding to someone's text or IM
- speaking my mind or stating an opinion, whether it conflicts with someone else's or not
- how I spend my money
- where I choose to travel and when and with whom
- who I choose to talk to
- the clothes I wear
- what I eat
- what I drink
- my body/weight: I'm proud of this mom body because it's a freaking gold, chubby trophy of all the trials and tribulations I have endured over the last 5 years. It is what it is, and no one else is entitled to an opinion.
- my faith (okay, I've never apologized for this and never will, but I'm listing it anyway)
- the music I like
- laughing too loudly or too much
- crying, no matter the reason
- forgetting to tell someone something that they could just as easily have found out on their own
- not knowing if I want things like marriage, more kids, etc.
- my decision-making process on any topic under the sun
- not wearing makeup on any given day
- my timeline...for life, an activity, a goal, whatever
- the way I parent my daughter
- being good at something
It basically boils down to this: If you're a kind person with good intentions who generally does her best to treat people well and with respect, you've got nothing to apologize for. Your friends and family know you and know what you're all about--if they happen to disagree with something you do, you still don't have to apologize for it. Own it and prove them wrong! Do what makes you happy!
If you do something hurtful or wrong, sure, unleash an authentic apology and own your mistake; be the first to speak up and make it right. But if you've done nothing wrong and have simply encountered a personality or values clash, zip your lips. You don't owe anyone an explanation! If someone is offended by the way you live your life, that's on them. Free yourself.
P.S. Yesterday a really close friend inadvertently did something that hurt me, noticed it may have upset me, and took the time to reach out to me to verify that I was indeed upset. Then he sincerely apologized to me, and he even let me ramble on about all the reasons why it upset me and got on my level and listened to me. It was the best feeling I've had in a while. Who does that? Not many people. We're so busy blundering our way through apologies over the stuff that doesn't matter that it dulls the apologies for the stuff that does. Make it count when you tell someone you're sorry.