Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm NOT sorry anymore

This week's Spin Cycle is on confessions and things we might feel guilty about. It should be a really easy topic, especially for me. I feel guilty about so many things, many of which are not even my fault. Thinking of this topic actually started depressing me, because all I could think of are all the things I am not doing right, not getting perfect. Then, I had an epiphany. I have to get a hold of this guilt thing, put it behind me and move on. So, here is my spin:

I have spent a good portion of my life apologizing to people. This is not because I spend most of my life offending others (though I am sure I do at times); no, I apologize for things that aren't my fault, things that I feel guilty over, though I have no reason to.

An incident with my sister illustrates my problem well: A couple months ago, my sister and I were shopping at Sam's Club. We turned the corner and found a man and his shopping cart parked directly in our way. My sister said, "Excuse me" and the man moved over to let us through. As I passed him, I said, "I'm sorry."

My sister turned to me and asked, "Why did you just apologize? You did nothing wrong and you need to quit doing that."

I've been thinking of this exchange for some time now. Though I was slightly annoyed at my sister's lecture, I knew she was right. And the more I think about it now, the more I realize that this habit of apologizing anytime I make my needs known is not emotionally healthy.

And this is going to change.

So from now on, no more apologies when I cannot do everything for everyone.
I will not be consumed with guilt when I have to say no to helping you with your needs. Sometimes my needs and my family have to come before you, and I have no reason to be sorry for this.
I will not apologize that sometimes I need help, too.
I am not going to be sorry when I demand to be treated with respect.
I am not sorry for politely disagreeing with your point of view.
I'm done with being sorry for expecting and demanding that people actually do their jobs. (This includes the school social worker who still hasn't started the social skills group for Danny that is in his IEP.)

And most of all, I will not apologize for taking up space on this earth anymore.

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Check out the Spin Cycle for more confessions.

12 comments:

Sarah said...

This proclamation has got to make you feel good---bravo Patty!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Woo hoo for you! Good. It's about time people stop being sorry for simply being! I should work on this my self. If I didn't hear you, a simple "What?" would suffice, not my typical "I'm sorry?". You're linked!

Amy Jane said...

Amen!!!!!

Elizabeth Channel said...

You go! (I do the same thing and have just noticed that now one of my children is saying that all the time.)

Let's change together!

gretchen said...

I TOTALLY identify with this. I find that I use the phrase "I'm sorry" sort of automatically, like "like" or "anyway", it's one of my most overused phrases. Maybe I can try to work on this too! Thanks.

B1L said...

Very thoughtful post, and par for the course, I might add. Sometimes I too, feel to apologize for being impatient, needy, limited, empty, exhausted, pained...in short, being human.

I don't know where I picked this habit up, but it's very a conflicting feeling: I feel like a "good person" exhibiting "meekness" for not imposing my humanity on other people. And yet, when it comes to dealing with selfish people, it gives them an obvious advantage I don't relish giving them.

I agree with your conclusion, but the whole vicious cycle of meekness and regret makes me wonder if people can really change those feelings without some terrible catalyst of change, a constant reminder of what they've given up.

One thing I am certain of, I absolutely despise it when other people manipulate me, or decide for me whether or not I will help them or help someone else. If God intends us to be free-willed and yet charitable, then charity can only come from a desire to do good of our own free will, and not by guilt, shame, or whatever it is that makes us apologize for being human.

Mrsbear said...

I do this too on a pretty regular basis. My husband is usually the one to stop and say, "Why are you apologizing? It's not your fault." I never have a good answer!

pegbur7 said...

I do the same thing.

danette said...

Amen!!! I do that sometimes too, I made a point to stop a while back but sometimes I still catch myself doing it. Old habits and all I guess. Must. Stop! :)

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Yup, I do this too. I made a conscious decision months ago to stop and I'm doing pretty good. Like, I think somehow people are going to be NICER to be if I apologize for stuff???? WTF??
You go girl; we'll keep each other going on this!!

Ginny Marie said...

Good for you! I feel guilty a lot, too, and most of the time it's for something that the other person probably never gave a second thought about.

Julie said...

Good for you! I have an apologizing problem, too... I hate it.