You’re doing a great job. Now stop apologizing. Most of us – especially women, but men too – apologize for ourselves all day. We’re not that strong at the gym; we’re sorry for holding everyone back in class. We need a glass of water, we ask our host, and we feel bad for asking. We want a raise at work – a pay raise we deserve – and we apologize before we even put in the request. The irony is that the people who take up the most air in a room, who dominate the space and time of others, never feel the need to apologize.
What can we learn from these self-involved people? They get what they want. Is that so bad? I’m not endorsing a selfishness at the expense of others’ happiness. In fact, the most sustained contentment often comes from being of service. But for those of us who apologize for walking into a room. We can take a page from the more demanding friend’s book, and command a little more time/space continuum for ourselves. Right?
I’m learning that I deserve as much space as I need. I used to apologize all the time for wanting time alone, an hour in nature, a full night’s sleep, a break from the hullabaloo, a quiet space to sort through life’s big events. No more. I get what I deserve, and what I deserve depends on what I believe.
Saying we’re sorry for who we are is just silly. It’s like being hard on ourselves – boy, am I guilty of that one! These seemingly insignificant acts, like beating myself up or apologizing for not spending enough time with a needy, demanding houseguest, actually diminish me. They make feel bad. It’s hard to expand when I’m coming from a contracted place. The other side of the over-apologizing coin is guilt and shame. We feel guilty we’re not spending enough time with our friends, our spouses, our children because we need to work or because we need a little time away. We’re ashamed because we’re bad parents/friends/lovers… fill in the blank. But we all deserve a little time and space away from the “madding crowd”.
We all deserve care and comfort from ourselves. Nobody’s going to care for me like I will because that’s my job. It’s why, how, and what I eat is so important. And I’m not going to apologize for needing whole, organic food. This is my body, my life, if I’m not my biggest advocate why should my boss or partner or friend or parent be?
So the next time you ask for a raise or go to the gym instead heading straight home to take care of everyone else, take a breath, pause, and ask yourself, “what do I need?” And give it to yourself. Be an advocate for your health, your happiness… you.
Filed Under: Blogs
About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.