Life is sometimes lived on autopilot.
It has to be.
Can you imagine if you had a conscious thought for everything you did? One would literally drive themselves crazy. Our brains couldn’t handle all that we would need to tell them to complete a simple task; luckily I don’t have to consciously tell my feet to, “lift foot off floor, bend knee, extend leg forward, set foot down again,” in order to take a step.
It is in those autopilot moments that sometimes something happens to shock us into realizing we behave or think in a certain way.
Shock is definitely what happened the day I apologized to my hair straigthener.
It was like any other autopilot morning; I hit the snooze button on my alarm nine times; I finally got up; I got back into bed and with the covers over my head tried to wish myself into wealth so I wouldn’t have to go to work; I uncovered my head and realized the wish hadn’t come true; I got up again; I begrudgingly got ready for work.
At one point I realized I was late, probably because I didn’t stick to my normal seven hits of the snooze, and began to hurry. I was done straightening my hair and was brushing my teeth when IT happened.
Dun, dun, dun. (I always wanted to use that in a story, how is that working? It’s good but what isn’t good is the parenthesis sentence checking the status of using it? Ok. Got it. Noted for next time.)
As I finished brushing my teeth and was splashing water on the basin to rinse out the sink, a couple of rouge drops of water splashed up and out of the sink and onto my still hot hair straightener, making a resounding, “hissssssss.” Before I even realized what I was doing, I had looked down at the straightener and said, “I’m sorry.”
Dun, dun, dun.
I looked up at myself in the mirror and said, “Ummm … did you seriously just apologize to your hair straightener?? Wow. You have a problem.” Then, because talking to yourself aloud would seem on the abnormal side I began to talk to myself internally, otherwise known as thoughts.
I began to think that if there was such a thing as an “apology intervention,” I was in desperate need of one. I realized I fell into that category of women that have fallen into the societal trap of apologizing for everything under the sun. “Sorry” is my conversation opener, it’s an old friend that’s hard to get rid of; three recent examples:
- I said, “Sorry,” when asking a question in a work meeting, two minutes after a male colleague had also asked a question but without the sorry …
- I said “Sorry,” to the cashier at Target that accidentally deleted my order and had to start again …
- I was crossing the street with twenty seconds still to go when a man in his car turning right started to go but had to stop because I was walking – I mouthed to him, “Sorry.”
There are definite times when apologizes are needed but all of these examples would not be considered one of those times. They make me think of the Pantene Shampoo commercial from a few years ago that highlighted this very idea that women apologize too much.
So, friends, do you apologize too much?
I know I do.
I wondered what that was about for me and came to two main conclusions.
First, I want to be polite.
I grew up with a mother that educated her children on the importance of manners, of being polite and having etiquette. Somehow over the years, it has morphed into me believing that I needed to be “sorry” to be polite. That is just not true.
Politeness and respect take many forms. For instance, in the above examples, I could have said, “Yes,” as I was called on and began my question at work; I could have smiled and waited patiently as the Target cashier began the order again; and as for crossing the street – just continuing to cross the street in my appointed time frame was all that politeness could demand.
Second, I have a worth issue.
I simply don’t believe that I have enough worth to exist on this planet earth. I realized I am apologizing for my existence; I am apologizing for my opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.
None of that needs an apology.
Every person born into this world is worth something and doesn’t need to apologize for existing, that includes me and that definitely includes you – your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions matter and its okay if they differ from someone else’s.
We live in a world that has lost the ability to “agree to disagree.” We live in a world where it can be dangerous to share a belief or an opinion and where there is pressure from all sides to do things the “right” way. Parenting is a war zone of people expressing what the right way is; what we eat and how we exercise is constantly monitored and challenged by the latest diet or workout craze; and don’t even let me step near the landmine that is politics.
I no longer want to believe that I don’t deserve to take up residence on this planet. I want to stop apologizing and realize that I am okay as I am.
This is my March mission, to stop apologizing. How about you join me?
But first …..
Sorry if this post was too long – or maybe it was too short?? Whatever it is: I’m sorry. (Hey, get off my back! It’s still February …)