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When I was a kid, I said sorry a lot. Like, a lot.
For some reason, I grew up thinking that everything in the world must have been my fault. I even apologized for apologizing! Crazy, right?
I know most of us feel this way. We beat ourselves up for things that might not even exist and feel as if everyone and everything is our responsibility. Although we might not always be at fault, we feel compelled to apologize because we might feel guilty or wish to please someone else.
Sadly, I’ve walked into my 3os not knowing that I shouldn’t be apologizing for everything. Well, expressing genuine remorse when we’re actually wrong is a beautiful trait, and we should all have it. But I’ve recently realized that apologizing for things that don’t require an apology is problematic.
Apologizing has been an involuntary reaction since I was a kid, and I don’t feel good anymore apologizing for things that I know are right for me, that make me feel at peace and happy, and that bring me comfort.
I know I have a long journey ahead, but I’m slowly getting used to being okay with who I am and what I want. And I think you should too.
Here are 10 things I’ve personally stopped apologizing for:
1. Wanting your space. It’s okay if you’re not available. It’s okay if you feel you need a break from those who are around you. Alone time is important and essential to your mental and emotional health.
2. Putting boundaries. It’s okay if you say no. Constantly saying yes to everyone and everything translates as weakness—not kindness. Learn to say no, learn to draw better boundaries, and learn to never apologize for that.
3. Expressing your emotions. It’s okay if you want to talk about how you feel. When we bottle up our emotions, we invite stress and hostility into our bodies. Express your deepest fears, concerns, and desires. Some people might not respect this wonderful feature, but please know it’s priceless.
4. Voicing your needs. It’s okay if you tell others what you want. Those who are not ready (or don’t want) to give us what we want might make us feel guilty for voicing our needs. You’re doing the right thing and you’re brave for actually knowing what you want.
5. Being sensitive. It’s okay if you’re sensitive. It’s okay if some things make you cry or if you feel hurt. Sensitivity is an underrated trait that we should be proud of.
6. Wanting out. It’s okay if you want to end something. Be it a job, a friendship, or a relationship, it’s your life and you make the choices that make you feel at peace. The problem isn’t about wanting out; it’s about staying in the muck.
7. Being hurt. It’s okay if you own your pain. You should never be sorry for feeling deeply and unapologetically. Our feelings—good and bad—help us grow and learn. Without them, we’re nothing.
8. Thinking differently. It’s okay if your perspective or opinion is different. By saying sorry for how we think, we betray ourselves and our core values. Stay confident and trust in yourself.
9. Being a mess. It’s okay if you look messy—emotionally or physically. Those who truly love us will respect and support us in all our conditions.
10. Apologizing. It’s okay if you’re over a certain situation. If you’re at fault and you have already apologized, you stop being at fault if/when the other person can’t forgive you. If you forgive yourself, that’s good enough.