Not long after the ultimately humbling experience of going through a divorce at 29 years old and winding up a single mom of a two and four-year-old, I found myself out shopping in a very busy department store. I had not regained my self-confidence. I felt like a failure. No one goes into a marriage thinking it would someday end. I am sure my state of mind showed in my body language in that store. An older lady with deep wrinkles in her cinnamon colored skin made her way around me between clothes racks and I promptly said, “Sorry.”
She spun around and faced me and looked me squarely in the eyes and replied, “You have every right to be standing here. Do not apologize for existing. Own your place in this world.”
Wow. I have to say that was the first time in my life I was given explicit permission to exist. I often refer to myself as a recovering approval addict, and that stranger was the catalyst for my recovery.
How many times do we as women apologize in our everyday life when we have no culpability in what we are apologizing for?
If I leave my home in plenty of time to make it to an appointment and an unfortunate accident causes me to be late, why do I say, “I’m sorry I’m late!” when I didn’t cause the accident? Because women have been conditioned to be nice and self-effacing in the name of manners. It is so much more empowering and just as polite to say, “Thank you for waiting, there was an accident on the highway.”
Where else in your daily life can you catch yourself saying sorry when you mean to say thank you, or no thank you. Where else in your life do you need to stand in your power and own the space you stand in?
Not long after writing this post a friend of mine sent me this video, may it inspire you to say Not Sorry.