“Dear random women I meet every day: if we go through the same doorway at the same time you don’t need to apologize. If you happen to be going down stairs at the same time I’m going up, don’t be sorry. If you’re looking at something on a store shelf and I pause to look at the same shelf you don’t need to excuse yourself. The next time you’re about to make a valid point in a discussion, don’t start by saying “I’m sorry but.” You deserve to be here. You deserve the air you breathe and the light you absorb. You deserve the space you take up. You deserve to have an opinion without it being diminished by an apology. What is the message when our daughters, sisters, students and any young women see us apologizing for simply being here? For thinking? For taking up space? What are we signaling to men, to anyone, about our sense of our own value and worthiness? Is being sorry the way you want people to see you? How can we possibly fight for gender equity for ourselves and others when we behave as if we don’t belong? Try this for a week: stop apologizing. Apologize ONLY if you have truly caused harm. Then do it for another week. Then keep going. ” Patricia James
I am the queen of sorry. Ever since I was small I apologized. I always felt that most things were my fault, even things that did not pertain to me. As I have grown into adulthood, this has continued. I apologize for everything, the weather, the day, not being fast enough, not being slow enough, being in the way, not being in the way. You get the idea. When Jim, my husband entered my life he started to subtly and not so subtly work with me to change this habit. It is hard and yet, with his help I find I have, over the years, apologized less. I can at least recognize my moments of broad and random apologizing.
I am not the only one who has this issue. Many women also work through this frustrating habit. I believe that society teaches women this behavior, as we grow up. If I speak to other women and I once again apologize and then say “I am sorry for saying sorry”, nine times out of ten they get it.
I belong to the Pantsuit Nation Facebook page. Recently the above quote was written on this page. I had already been thinking of posting about this topic. When I saw Patricia’s quote it struck a very deep and personal chord. Another woman I follow on Facebook posted the below quote from feministvoice on Instagram.
OK I get it. When the moment is right the messages come. It is time for me to stop apologizing for the world. I don’t often pay attention to New Years resolutions. This coming year I plan to stop saying “I’m sorry”. It is not something that is going to change overnight. Creating positive change takes time and patience.
The first step is awareness. Since Jim’s death (four years ago), I have recognized more and more, my moments of apologizing. I have no one who can lovingly and gently guide me. Now I have to step up and become my own muse.
Hopefully my friends can lovingly support me through this change. If I say I am sorry, I really don’t want anyone to correct me. Maybe a “go Janet” would be better.
I really like the idea of changing the “I’m sorry” to something positive. The title of this blog is Journeys of Thankfulness. As a noun gratitude is the state of being thankful and grateful. As a adjective thankful is showing appreciation or gratitude. I am right on track and ready for this personal challenge. It is long overdue.
Today I am thankful for strong women who, through their voice, assist me in change. Today I am thankful for all who read this post and their quiet or verbal support. Today I am thankful for only apologizing when it is the correct situation. Today I am grateful.
Bring it on 2017