Have you ever said sorry for sneezing? Coughing? Crying?
Basic human functions. Things that we are programmed to do, things we have no control over whatsoever and we keep saying sorry? Why?
I apologize every time I cry in front of someone. For some strange reason, I feel guilty for releasing emotion in front of people, for being vulnerable, for letting them in.
"I'm sorry," I've told my mom, sister, roommates, friends, boyfriends when I am balling my eyes out in front of them. I'm embarrassed, ashamed and filled with guilt.
I also have a tendency to say sorry to people when they bump into me, hurt me, when I demand respect from people and when I act without permission.
I didn't notice it right away. It took a lot of self-realization and a few people pointing it out to know that I say "sorry" A LOT. To the extent that when I do genuinely mean it, it sounds empty and pathetic.
It's a reflex, a knee-jerk reaction to my inability to accept that which is beyond my control.
Things I have had to tell myself:
- You do not have to apologize for your emotions.
- You do not have to apologize for your feelings.
- You do not have to apologize for your insecurities.
- You do not have to apologize for basic human functions.
- You do not have to apologize for taking up space, for holding your own or for existing.
There are things that are too big, too heavy a burden to bear. Life throws circumstances at us that are beyond our control. Every day we have to deal with things. Big or small, mundane or momentous.
We wake up feeling a certain way, physically, mentally or emotionally. We live in situations and environments beyond our choosing. We are littered with insecurities and things we embarrassed about. Our bodies function and grow in ways that we are taught to be ashamed of. We are alive, living, taking up space, claiming a name and holding our own but we should be apologetic for any of that.
Next time you're "sorry," ask yourself for what? Why? What did you do? Was it something out of your control? Block the part of your brain forcing out a "sorry" before you can process if what is happening is actually your fault.
Be bold, live loudly and unapologetically. And save your "sorry" for someone or something that deserves it.