Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stop Apologizing

Have you ever heard a friend express her opinions, frustrations, or thoughts, and then finish with "sorry" or "just my two cents"? Have you seen posts online that begin with "//rant//" and end with "//end rant// sorry"? I've noticed this trend a lot lately, and it's upsetting, frustrating, and baffling to me.

Why do people feel the need to apologize or to warn people that they're going to express their opinion? It's mostly women who do this - for some reason, men seem to have no problem speaking their mind, and don't seem to care if others agree with them or not.

What are we apologizing for? For exercising our rights of free speech? For having an opinion? For not agreeing with everyone?

News flash: At no one point does everyone always agree!

Someone is always going to have a different opinion, and that's totally ok! Life would be so boring if we all agreed all the time! Plus, different opinions lead to a more open-minded approach and more understanding. Knowledge is power. Without sharing knowledge and dissenting opinions, we become a stagnant society.

I just finished listening to an audio book this week: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. It's a sarcastic satire on the world of pageantry, and how society is forced to live up to ridiculous beauty standards and personal beliefs. At one point in the book, the beauty queens discuss why they always apologize for expressing their opinions. When I read that, I exclaimed in my head, "YES!!!! FINALLY someone else notices this too and thinks it's ridiculous!"

We seem to feel guilty for saying or doing things that others may not agree with. One of my favorite bloggers, Rachel Wilkerson, talks about this in her "Thou Shalt Own It" post. She uses the phrase, "Sorry I'm not sorry" as a response or as a preemptive response. I love this phrase because it shows confidence in your decision to do or share something. Rachel hits the nail on the head:

Many times, people think when you’re telling them something, you’re telling them because you’re seeking approval and advice. They start telling you everything that’s wrong with your decision or listing all the ways you could handle the matter. And then you’re crushed because you’re being told that something you felt super confident about isn’t OK with them.

I challenge you to NOT apologize for having or sharing your feelings (as long as you're not making a mean-spirited personal attack on someone). Feel free to announce a rant, but then do NOT apologize for it. And do not add, "but that's just how I feel." It's redundant and unnecessary (get the pun?) to add that phrase, because you clearly just stated how you feel. And it's totally valid to have those feelings and to not apologize for them.

Give it a try this week and eliminate the apologies. You may be surprised at how often you say "sorry" for something you're either not sorry about or have no need to feel sorry about. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
//end rant// (Ha ha!)

9 comments:

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  2. I agree 100%. There's no need to "excuse" your comments with /rant/ /end rant/.
    Just say what you want to say. By prefacing your remarks with a label you're doing the comments a disservice and making them less authentic.

    Do you mean what you say? If so, just say it! :-)

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  3. I agree. You should come to Canada, we are over the top 'nice'. Seriously, it is ok to not agree or have something to say. I used to do this all the time. Finally I stopped and it feels so great to be able to own what you say and not have to have caveats galore to justify your words. Be honest, loving, and yourself!

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    1. Minnesota is the same way! So many unnecessary apologies! I didn't notice it until I moved away. I do miss the genuine "nice-ness" of people there, though.

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  4. I understand your point and almost 100% agree.
    I happen to LOVE that people (especially online, in blogs and whatnot) will warn me that a rant is coming. I usually try to avoid negativity, and am often not in the mood to read someone's *usually ill-written* rant. So I welcome the warning so I know to hit the BACK button quickfast!! :) No need to read someone's whining when I'm in a good mood.

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    1. Good point about the rant warning. I'm ok with warnings, but not any accompanying (unnecessary) apologies.

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  5. Unrelated: i joined toastmasters! i've been dragging my feet on it for about a year lol and YOU INSPIRED ME!!! Thanks.

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    1. Awesome!!! I'm so excited for you! I think you're going to love it!

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