We often feel guilty for things we shouldn’t.
The desire to please people feels almost instinctive for me, probably due to both nature and nurture. People like myself are hyperaware of the shifting moods around us; we sense tension in the air. We can tell from the subtlest change in vocal tone or body position that someone is defensive or relieved, irritated or intrigued.
And many women (+ some men) apologize far too often. We endlessly criticize ourselves. No matter how hard we try, we’re never polished enough, prepared enough, impressive enough. We are all too aware of our inadequacies. These issues are worsened by the social-media-comparison-game; our cluttered houses or loud kids or hastily-thrown-in-a-bun hair seems pitiful when we behold stylish women with picture-perfect homes and mild-mannered children.
Below is a list of things we need to stop apologizing for:
- Not wearing makeup and/or fixing up our hair
- Not having an immaculate home
- Being tired
- Not being able to take on another volunteer role
- Needing time to ourselves and/or to relax
- Not having the meal prepared just yet when people are ready to eat
- Speaking up during a group conversation
- Correcting misinformation
- Our children misbehaving
- Not wanting what a telemarketer or real-life salesman is advertising to us
Can’t you picture these so easily?
I’m sorry; I look like a train wreck today.
I’m sorry; I’ll have dinner ready in just a few minutes.
I’m sorry; I think you meant to say “the Civil War” rather than “the Revolutionary War.”
I’m sorry; I don’t need a new health insurance policy.
I know some men are more sensitive or more geared the way I’m describing. But I’ve only ever been a woman, so that’s my perspective; feel free to share another viewpoint. As a woman, I conciously and subconciously feel that I need to be small. Many women try to take up as little physical and metaphorical space as possible. Since speaking our minds, having needs, and requiring attention does the latter, we often compulsively apologize to minimize ourselves.
Coincidentally (or is it divine fate?), the lectionary this week includes lines of Psalm 139, which tells us we are each “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Remember that you are specially crafted in the image of God and infinitely beloved.
To all those who are empathetic, who are people pleasers, who nitpick themselves, who never seem to be good enough: you are worthy of all the space you take up and more. Stop apologizing for being human.
What else do people need to stop feeling guilty for? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.
P.S. In my latest vid, I discuss bitterness, both in the nation (extreme political divides) and my personal life (having a progressive disability, the tension that arises in the caretaker-disabled person relationship). Then, I mention other instances that can cause bitterness and beckon viewers to reflect on who or what causes bitterness in their lives. Then, I end with a devotional.
Please watch, like, and/or share if you are interested. Thanks so much. ♥