Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding a Balance Between 'Sorry' & 'Sorry I'm Not Sorry'

A few weeks ago, Jonathan took me on an impromptu date to our favorite sushi place. The place is always packed, especially on Friday nights. Even with the long wait time, we decided to wait it out and enjoy dinner together. After all, we weren't in a rush. While we were enjoying our dinner, an older couple was seated at the table next to us and we couldn't help but notice they were getting impatient waiting on their server to come by. At one point, Jonathan even joked around with them offering to share our lettuce wraps. They laughed and eventually, they grew too impatient and decided to leave the restaurant. As we noticed them getting up from their table, without thinking I said goodnight to the couple, gave them a sympathetic look and said "I'm sorry." I didn't give it a second thought but my dear husband was quick to call me out. "Why are you apologizing to them? It's not your fault their server never came to the table!" I laughed because it does sound ridiculous. I just explained that I felt bad for them and the words just spilled out! 

As women, it's my understanding that many of us share this common habit: we are overly apologetic. We don't do it intentionally and for me at least, we're not even conscious of it until someone points it out. That person for me is Jonathan who is constantly calling me out for apologizing when it's not necessary. I don't say I'm sorry because I think he (or anyone else for that matter) is actually mad at me or upset, but it's just my natural instinct.

Oh, you're having a bad day? I'm sorry.

I got overly emotional. I'm sorry.

I'm calling you in the middle of the day and I know you are busy. I'm sorry.

I couldn't sleep...I'm sorry if I kept you up.

Can you relate to any of these scenarios? I certainly can and I know quite a few ladies who would agree. A good friend of mine who is guilty of being overly apologetic herself posted this Pantene ad to her Facebook account a few months ago and it obviously hit home with me. 

Jonathan has been on my case about this from the moment we met. I apologize for silly things like being moody and he looks me in the eye and tells me to stop apologizing to him...that we are married and he knows me and I don't have to explain myself to him. Sometimes he'll tell me I don't have to apologize and I'll apologize for apologizing! It's madness I tell you! 

The examples in this video of women apologizing in a work environment strike a totally different cord. As women, we can be strong and professional while being respectful without feeling like we need to walk on eggshells around our male counterparts. 

I don't know where I'm going with this but I guess my point is I shouldn't worry about explaining myself all the time. There are certainly times where an apology is absolutely necessary, but I'm pretty sure apologizing for being emotional doesn't fit that criteria. I want to find a balance between being compassionate and being confident in my actions and convictions. People who truly know me won't doubt my intentions and I need to trust in that. Like Dr. Seuss says, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Can you relate to to this at all? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! 


  1. I think the reason we say "I'm sorry" so much is because, as you implied, we are predisposed to be feel empathy for people. We put ourselves in other people's shoes and feel their troubles. This is a great post!