All of my life, I’ve been “the apologizer.”
I’ve struggled with insecurity and an exhausting perfectionism since I was a young child, and while I can be incredibly selfish at times, I was also blessed with the “people pleasing” gene.
Now that I’m mommy to a toddler and continuing to work full-time outside of my home, I’ve found a whole new set of things for which I must apologize.
But here’s the thing. Constantly saying “I’m sorry” for one’s existence or personality benefits nobody.
It’s time to start making resolutions for 2018, and I have been thinking for a while about self-improvement and finding genuine contentment with my current season in life.
And all of that thinking and ruminating have led to this: I’m done apologizing.
I’ve let guilt and fear run my life for too long, and, frankly, I’m tired of carrying that burden with me.
I’m not going to apologize for:
Although I know that regular exercise, a good book, and time spent outside are essential for controlling my anxiety and maintaining my overall mental health, I feel incredibly guilty for prioritizing these things.
Every hour in the gym is an hour that I am not playing with my son or helping my husband around the house. And, yet, I know that when I’m feeling my best, I’m able to give my best to others.
Having my own views…and speaking about them passionately
I’m what you might call a bright blue dot in a really red state—meaning, my social and political views aren’t in line with a majority of my family’s and hometown neighbors’.
But rather than mourn how my views will never become mainstream, I’m just going to speak louder. I may not change minds, but I might encourage somebody to see things in a new light. And, on the other hand, I may also learn something in the process.
Being a woman
Feminism has become a dirty word, and that’s sickening. I admire so many strong women, and I know that I can do anything I put my mind to because of, not in spite of, my gender.
Women are not second-class citizens, and we deserve the right to make decisions about our own reproductive health. We deserve to be able to work in an environment where sexual harassment from men in power is not the norm.
Choosing Netflix binges over marathons
Am I too sedentary? Absolutely. I have a 9-5 desk job. I know sitting for hours a day is bad for longevity, but that doesn’t mean I will avoid relaxation time. I’m happiest when I get frequent exercise, even if it’s simply a 20-minute walk – but I’m not going to apologize for skipping a workout to catch up on my favorite show. We all need downtime!
Eating an extra cookie when I “should” eat a salad
When I think about how diabetes runs in my family, I become more careful with my food choices, but that doesn’t mean I am going to avoid the foods I love. Food is one of life’s many pleasures, and you can bet I will have a large slice of cake at my friends’ wedding or an extra cookie when they’re fresh out of the oven. Denying our cravings leads to guilt and binges later on.
Sticking up for the ones society leaves out
I’m fully aware of my privilege as a white, middle class, cisgender, college-educated woman. But instead of living as if I have nothing to worry about, I will stick up for the marginalized. I will use my personal advantage to help others, and I will never apologize for standing up for those who need a supporter.
Not being able to do everything by myself
Growing up, I was fiercely independent. I see that same fire in my 3-year old son! But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized I can’t do it all. I need the help of my husband, my coworkers, my parents, and my peers. And that’s ok. It’s not weakness – it’s strength – to accept help and know our limitations.
And there it is: “I’m sorry” should only come out of our mouths when we’ve actually wronged someone. If you find yourself constantly apologizing for your ideas, your attitude, your gender, your privilege, or your struggles, I implore you to reframe those thoughts and practice some self-compassion.
Here’s to 2018 being free of guilt and unnecessary apologies!
Catherine is part of the Contributing Writer Network. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.
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