Something about me (and many, many other women I know and love): I am a chronic “apologizer.” I apologize about everything. I legitimately used to get in trouble for apologizing too much to my mom, and I’ve gotten in arguments with ex-boyfriends because I just can’t stop. I have a strong feeling many of the female readers can relate to this. If you haven’t seen it, check out this Amy Schumer sketch on women apologizing.
Well, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to start changing this ‘thing’ about me. Because this has historically been a problem for me, I know I needed to start small, so I decided I was going to stop apologizing when I was trying to get by people. Start noticing how many times you say, “Excuse me. I’m sorry,” when you’re just walking around the store. It is a challenge to not say it, and sometimes I still do, but you know what? I’m getting a lot better about it. I also notice how many other women consistently say it. I have also started cutting it down in other areas of my life. I’m actually apologizing less, which honestly makes it so much more meaningful when I actually do apologize. People in my life might not actually notice a change, but I have noticed that my boundaries are respected more than they had been previously. Although I’m always busy and running around, most of what I do is my decision and not something I’m doing out of a sense of obligation. But since I cut down on apologizing, it feels like the decisions I’m making are respected more.
I’m by no means done apologizing, and I will never cut it out of my vocabulary – there is a time and a place for it, and I have definitely been there before. But I’m making small improvements, and I’m seeing positive trends coming out of it. I challenge you to, if nothing else, just notice how many times throughout your day you say, “I’m sorry,” in emails, in the produce aisle, when someone is behind you in line for coffee. I have a feeling most people don’t realize just how many times a day they say this seemingly simple phrase. You don’t have to make a change, but notice and consider it.