There are times where apologies can go a long way and are even necessary in order to take ownership of mistakes and to repair any damage done to those you may have hurt, upset or let down. Apologising can be part of your healing, can help you grow and can sometimes be the factor that shifts a bad situation into one of clarity and understanding.
However, saying that apologising can be difficult and next Tuesdays post will be about things you should apologise for and how to do it (keep an eye out for that one and mark it down in your calendar!). For now lets dive into the things that you should absolutely never have to apologise for and if you are the type of person that finds it hard to put yourself first and love you as you beautifully are ( or you are someone that apologises for everything) then this is for you (and in a way for all of us). It is a great reminder for me too as I am working on this!
1. The way you look!
I have had a whale of a time with this one! It took me a very long time to accept and love myself as I am because I am at peace with the fact that this is how I was created. I was born like this. I am the only one out of my 5 sisters with curly hair ( I have learnt to put away the straightening irons and embrace my curls) and have a deeper tanned golden skin tone than the rest of my family members. I have always loved my skin as it is and it is probably one of the things about me that never bothered me. However in the Asian community where you can be born in a whole array of skin tones this automatically offended a lot of my more fair skin toned relatives. Should I have to explain, justify or apologise for the way I look? Ummm definitely not! Did I get asked the stupid questions like “why is your big toe so big?” (no joke actually got asked this at the age of 10) yes I did. I initially had my apologetic face with the “I’m not sure, is it really?” response and now I own the way I look and respond with “because that’s how God made me”.
2. Who You Are!
Who you are, what you believe in and what you identify yourself as should ever be something you have to apologise for. It is hard enough being you without having to apologise for it! Being a Muslim and wearing the headscarf had its challenging times especially as a lot of people didn’t understand why I wore it or didn’t like what it represented. Have a conversation with me and I can explain, judge me for it or make assumptions about me based on what I believe and I have nothing to say. Should I apologise for who I am? No and nor should you. You are an individual and your boundaries, beliefs and morals should be respected the same way you should respect those of others.
3. Putting Yourself First!
How many times have I apologised for putting myself first? Countless immeasurable times. Was it healthy? No, and it only made looking after myself that much harder! I have realised that putting myself first does not doesn’t mean that I should be selfish and let people down because that isn’t who I am. But at the same time we shouldn’t have to do things we really don’t want to. We shouldn’t have to entertain toxic situations or be somewhere that will damage our wellbeing, and we shouldn’t have to apologetic for feeling this way. Putting yourself first means creating safe boundaries for your wellbeing and not having to apologise if others around you don’t agree with them. It isn’t easy but over time it does get easier I promise you!
4. Saying No.
Another one of my apologetic Achilles heels! This is something I have really struggled with being a people pleaser and more so when I have a lot on my plate. I thought saying no meant I was letting people that needed me down. So I said yes to everything until I was overwhelmed with my own list of things I needed to stay on top of (raising kids is not a walk in the park!) So I realised I would have to start saying no. But it always started with a “I am so sorry…” and ended with “are you sure thats ok?” and then the over-riding guilt mechanism would kick in and I would end up saying “you know what its fine, i’ll do it”. This was especially problematic at work. I would end up working overtime, extra days and dumped with more than I could manage. Be clear about what you can do and what you cant. Be assertive and courteous and just say it. It is ok to give an explanation but set your boundaries nad put yourself first!
5. Asking for Help
I am the worst person in the world for asking for help. I have struggled for years with “I would rather do it myself then let people know I am struggling”. When I started to ask for help I would then apologise profusely for being an inconvenience! It is O.K to ask for help especially if you are someone that is always helping others. Be thankful and grateful for the help and people around you rather than being apologetic. Sometimes the people around us appreciate it when we reach out to them just as they appreciate when we are there for them.
6. Being Emotional.
Emotions are God given human traits and we all have them. How many of us need a good cry or are overwhelmed with emotions and apologise as we cry? There a certain emotions that are followed by actions that may hurt others in which case an apology is required. But being in touch with your own emotions, expressing them as and when you need to (as long as you are aware of and considerate of the emotions of others) is a good thing and does not need an apology.
7. Your Priorities.
Your schedule and priorities are important to you and if you have to be somewhere or cant go out and socialise because the two clash then that it absolutely fine. You have to try and balance out friends, family, work etc but never apologise for doing things in the order of your priorities. This is especially difficult when you become a new mum, have just started a new relationship, have a big project due in at work etc. You should definitely not have to apologise for not responding to a call, email or text message straight away. With the right balance you should be able to put yourself and your priorities first unapologetically.
8. Doing What You Love!
If doing what you love is something that others look down upon or it doesn’t meet their expectations or it isn’t what is deemed acceptable… who cares? Honestly if you love what you do whether it’s a career choice, settling down, being a stay at home mum. a working mum or starting up a business people don’t have much faith in remember this is your life and you have to love what you do and do it without having to justify it or apologise for your choices.
9. Standing your Ground!
Sometimes you might find yourself on the opposite side of the majority when it comes to opinions, decisions, choices or even where to go out to eat! If your heart, gut and instincts are all aligned and you feel confident in the choice you have made then you don’t need to apologise to the other side to appease them. On a more serious note, you cant control others behaviours especially those you love and trust which can be difficult in certain situations. But you should never apologise for your boundaries. You should not apologise for standing up for yourself, refusing to be lied to, disrespected or mistreated. Stand your ground when it comes to your standards and never apologise for them.
10. Things that aren’t your fault!
We all apologise for more than we might need to just to keep the peace. Sometimes we apologise for things that are not in our control, other peoples behaviour (often, followed with an unnecessary explanation or excuse), circumstances you can’t control, ordering a takeaway and it didn’t suit peoples taste buds or someone walking into you. if it isn’t your fault and you couldn’t have prevented it or controlled then you shouldn’t apologise for it.
Apologies are sacred words that can hold a lot of healing and beauty if used correctly and with genuine intentions. When over used, the words ‘I am sorry” loose meaning and authenticity. You should apologise when you are in the wrong, when you have hurt or wronged someone intentionally or unintentionally but most of all you should only apologise of you truly mean it!
Do you find it hard to apologise or do you apologise more than you need to?