In celebration of his birthday and literary genius while trying to make sense of cancel culture and its revocation of Dr. Seuss, last week I posted one of my favorite quotes of all time:
Truth be told, I’m not a huge Dr. Seuss fan but I’ve always loved that quote. Ironically, its message could not be more needed or timely. We are living in a time that has quickly become one in which some are being asked to apologize for how they were born and how God made them while others are demanding apologies for the most senseless of so-called transgressions.
A perfect illustration of this happened just a few days ago when I was chatting with a friend who mentioned that she had recently commented in a group text something she hoped one of the recipients wouldn’t scold her for. It wasn’t anything offensive or controversial but in this day and age of offending someone or making them mad, she was worried she should apologize for it. I promptly recommended she revisit that Dr. Seuss quote.
Can we just stop?
Can we please stop apologizing for everything?
I’m sorry, but it’s just all out of control.
As luck would have it, one of my favorite authors/bloggers/feel good humans, Courtney Carver, recently wrote about this very thing. Yes, we all need to apologize for our mistakes and our wrongs and not think we’re perfect or above reproach, but we need to stop apologizing for things we really don’t need to be sorry about.
Making amends is indeed healing and a truly heartfelt apology can go a long way. Be sincere about it though and never try to justify what you are sorry for. If you think you were justified, deep down you probably don’t think you need to apologize. If you don’t believe your sincerity, neither will they. As they say, making someone angry is one thing, but hurting someone is another. Always apologize for hurting someone.
It really all comes down to common sense and choices and as of today, I’m choosing to stop apologizing for:
- Being me. I can be a lot. And I can be a little. Huh? It’s true. I can be very opinionated and passionate but I can also be very private and need my alone time. I’m done apologizing for any of it. I am who I am and if I’m too much or too little for someone, they’re either not my people or quite possibly “those who don’t matter.”
- Being sensitive, emotional, and moody. I’ve learned that being sensitive is a strength and shows you have a big heart and besides, who isn’t moody?!
- Saying no. No is a complete sentence and say it unapologetically without going on and on. If something offered doesn’t make you want to say “hell yeah,” think about saying “no way.” I’m no longer saying yes to FOMO or the disease to please and I’m no longer saying “ok” or even “let me think about it” to any invitation I know I don’t want. I embrace my free time and am not going to apologize for saying no to something that steals it away from me. Think of it this way: when you say no to things that don’t excite you, you leave room in your life for the things that do.
- Giving and going too much. I know my comfort level of activity and I know what I can and cannot give or offer. Over-committing and the often resulting dysfunction stress me out and reduce my abilities and energy, which leads me to…
- Setting boundaries. These little boogers are essential for everyone. For me, they increase my passion, my stability, and my peace of mind. Know your limits. Dare to set your boundaries and don’t apologize for them.
- Thinking differently. Oh boy. This is a big one right now. Not a lot of gray out there but it’s not okay to feel like you have to apologize for what you believe or for not agreeing with someone. It’s also not okay for them to humiliate you for having a difference of opinion. Leave them with theirs and unapologetically walk away with yours. Travel the high road. Remember, if you are easily offended you are easily manipulated and besides, if everyone looks different but thinks the same it’s conformity, not diversity. Don’t apologize for thinking differently or disagreeing with even those you love.
- Changing your mind. Maybe at the time I signed up for something it sounded good, but things change…both inside and outside. It’s important to keep learning and keep growing and doing so often requires changing your mind. Be okay with that.
- Not responding. In today’s high-tech age, it can feel like a text, voice mail, or email requires an instant response but maybe we’re not up for an answer right away. Maybe you’re swamped with other things at the time. Maybe you need to think about your response. Maybe you just don’t want to. Stop saying “I’m so sorry for not getting right back to you” and instead thank them for their patience.
- Putting my mental and physical health first. Yep, not sorry here. At all.
- Keeping up with the Joneses. My house is not the biggest or fanciest, my posts aren’t always glam shots of me or fabulous destinations, my life is not perfect, and my body is far from picture perfect but I’m done apologizing for all of it. I’m good.
And while you’re at it, don’t be one of those forever offended types and expect apologies from everyone else. If someone hurt you but never said sorry, move on and offer forgiveness rather than harbor resentment, revenge, and ultimately bitterness.
The constant worry and stress over the perceived need to apology is both exhausting and has a way of quietly telling ourselves we’ve failed and we’re not good enough. It’s time to stop, so for the next week, pay attention to how many times you tell someone (or even think) “I’m sorry” or apologize for something. Then think about how many of those apologies were really needed and merited. And again, of course if you did do or say something hurtful or harmful, apologize and own it, but stop apologizing for simply being you and not being something or someone else. Stop beating yourself up. There’s nothing to feel sorry about that for.