The other day while waiting to order my coffee I heard a woman apologize three times for ordering decaf, which was out, meaning that the staff had to make a fresh pot. The way she carried herself and repeatedly apologized made me angry, uncomfortable, and annoyed. Her body language screamed, I am so not worth you making a fresh pot of coffee, I am SO sorry for being an inconvenience.
I think the reason this coffee scenario made me so irked was that it felt like I was staring into a giant mirror. More often than not, when we witness things in others that drive us absolutely batty it is because those are the very things we detest in ourself.
While hearing this poor woman say one sorry after another I thought, since when should a paying customer be so apologetic?! I’ve been passively working on my own sorry word vomit for about a decade and actively working on it for about ten months. I never knew how hard it would be to eliminate an apology in situations that don’t call for it. I have memories of loved ones pleading with me to stop apologizing. My overuse of those five little letters was habitual, borderline addictive, and downright irritating. Somehow, I just couldn’t see it then.
A few months back, I saw a Pantene Ad related to this sorry subject. In it, women were shown saying sorry in situations that didn’t warrant it. I watched it a few times and cringed. Women- hear me now: the sorry madness has to stop. With every unnecessary apology, we are telling the world that we aren’t worthy of existence. We are telling the world that we don’t have the right to take up space and that our opinions and emotions aren’t valid. Why do we apologize for ordering coffee? Why do we apologize for getting upset? Why do we apologize for telling someone what we need? Why do we feel the need to be so damn sorry all the time?
Writing that women apologize too much may make me sound like a feminist, but I am definitely not sorry. I love and respect men and believe that we are all deeply connected. I am simply writing from my own sorry experience as a woman. Some of us (*many of us*) need to love and respect ourselves more.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Some situations and times certainly call for an apology. Use sorry to express empathy. Say sorry when it is really necessary; say it once, mean it, and allow yourself to move on. This way, your apology will have real substance, instead of being a mindless word thrown into sentences out of fear, insecurity, or the avoidance of confrontation.
Stop being sorry for your size, your color, your job, your questions, your opinions, and your needs. We are all entitled to take up space, to be heard, to receive love, to have emotional outbursts now and then, and to be gorgeously flawed human beings.
Challenge yourself to notice when, how, and why you use the word sorry. Be polite. Be kind. Be genuine. Be assertive. Be strong. Be straightforward. Order your decaf (even when they are out). And last but not least, stop being so damn sorry.
Related: Pantene Shine Strong/ NOT SORRY ad