9 things about your life you need to stop being “sorry” for

Did you know that the average person says “sorry” at least eight times per day? That’s close to 3,000 apologies per year! 

Some people even go for as much as 20 sorry’s each day, according to a BBC report.

This makes me wonder…are we saying and being “sorry” too much?

It’s only right to apologize if we’ve messed up, but judging from the numbers above, many of us are probably apologizing even when it isn’t warranted. 

So, it’s time to cut down on those unnecessary apologies, which, by the way, don’t really accomplish anything except make other people think less of us. 

Here are 9 things about your life that you don’t need to be sorry for:   

1) Your feelings

First up – your emotions. I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past. I’d catch myself saying, “Sorry for being so upset, but…” or “Sorry, I can’t help but be emotional…”

Look, I totally understand that impulse to apologize for what we feel. After all, emotions are messy and we’d rather not burden other people with that messiness. 

But – and this is a big BUT – however messy they are, our emotions are part of us. Downplaying them is tantamount to denying who we are. 

Our emotions are valid, period. There’s no right or wrong way to feel – it is what it is. And if other people will judge you for having those emotions, well then, that’s on them, isn’t it? 

It’s time we start embracing our emotions as natural, integral parts of our being. Instead of shying away from them, we should allow ourselves to feel and express them openly. 

Besides, how else would other people see the real you? 

If you ask me, I can relate better to someone who’s willing to wear their heart on their sleeve than someone who’s overly polite or apologetic about how they feel. It just feels more authentic and real. 

2) Your appearance

This one’s for those who feel some sort of pressure to look a certain way. I’ve had friends who apologize for: 

  • Being overweight
  • Having dark skin
  • Having pale skin
  • Being too skinny
  • Being stocky
  • Having freckles

It’s actually a longer list, but you get the idea. Women are particularly prone to this, what with all the unrealistic beauty standards placed on us. 

The thing is, apologizing for the way you look is pointless. It just reinforces the idea that however you look, it’s unacceptable. 

But you know what’s truly unacceptable? That you don’t love yourself. That you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. 

Personally, I love how we all come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. What a boring world it would be if we all looked similar! 

3) Prioritizing yourself

Ah, this is another one I’ve been guilty of. I used to beg off from commitments or ask for some time alone like this: “Sorry, but I need to stay home and rest…”, complete with a little hand-wringing and squirming.

I felt like I had to apologize because prioritizing myself sounds a bit selfish. Until I realized that it really isn’t. 

Remembering to prioritize myself doesn’t make me selfish. It makes me able to give more of myself to others.

If this is an area you struggle with, that’s okay. Simply drop the “sorry” and go on and state what you need. Don’t worry, it gets easier with practice!

4) Your boundaries

This ties in perfectly with my point above. Expressing your needs also involves expressing your boundaries.

Once again, women find this hard to do unapologetically. We’re conditioned to be accommodating, to smile and be pleasant even when someone or something makes us uncomfortable.

No more. You have every right to say no, to express discomfort, and to draw the line where you need it. This doesn’t make you unkind or selfish; it makes you self-respecting.

Adding an apology sends the wrong message – that it’s okay for others to overstep your boundaries.

Repeat this to yourself: your comfort, your peace of mind, and your personal space are important. They are not negotiable or secondary to someone else’s desires.

5) Your life choices

Similarly, why should you apologize for the decisions you make? It’s your life, isn’t it? 

I come from a culture that upholds a lot of traditions, norms, and expectations. For a long time, I tried to live my life according to those standards. 

But my heart wanted something else. I wanted a different career and a different lifestyle, not just for me, but for my own family. 

So it was kind of rough for a while. I was firm on wanting to be true to myself, but I also wanted to cushion the blow. The sweet spot was to live my life the way I wanted…while also apologizing for it. 

Crazy, right? But like I said earlier, it gets easier with practice. 

Over time, I dropped those apologies, and if anyone had any issues with the way I live my life, well…that sounds like a “them” problem, doesn’t it? 

6) Your past

So, maybe you’ve got a checkered past. Maybe you took a couple of wrong turns when you were younger that led you down a terrible path. Maybe, like me, you’ve made choices that you’re not proud of.

Yes, your past is a part of you, just like your feelings and your appearance. But even so, it doesn’t define you.

So there’s no need to feel sorry about it. It’s just a waste of energy. Just take the lessons, be grateful for them, and use them to move you forward. 

The more important thing is to focus on what you do today. That’s all you really have control over. Which brings me to my next point… 

7) Circumstances beyond your control

I remember attending an outdoor birthday party that got rained out. The host, my college friend, was beside herself. She was apologizing left and right to her guests for, of all things, the rain. 

I understood where she was coming from; it can be really embarrassing to invite people to a party only for things to turn chaotic midway. 

The thing is, life will always give us something beyond our control – traffic conditions, economic downturns, tech issues, other people’s behavior…and don’t get me started on aging-related issues! 

I’ve heard so many apologies from older friends: 

“Sorry, my knees just can’t manage those stairs…”

“I apologize for my poor memory, it isn’t what it used to be…”

“Sorry to bother you, but I need help lifting this…”

Newsflash: we need to stop apologizing for those. 

Because, obviously, it’s not our fault. As uncomfortable and embarrassing as the situation might be, it’s not our fault. 

8) Asking questions

How about this? Have you ever prefaced a question with “sorry”? As in, “Sorry to ask, but what does that mean?” 

Or, “Sorry, but could you clarify that point?”

It’s quite common, yet when we think about it, asking questions isn’t a mistake, is it? How else are we going to learn, understand, and connect with others if we don’t ask questions? 

So…what exactly are we apologizing for? 

I guess we do this because we feel that our curiosity is an inconvenience. Nobody wants to be a nuisance or to be seen as dumb. 

So, next time you have a question, just ask it. And if you still don’t feel confident about dropping that “sorry” before it, let me share with you what my high school English teacher told me many moons ago:

“It is less embarrassing to ask a silly question than to explain later why you didn’t.” 

9) Your success

That’s right, sometimes even success feels like something to apologize for. 

This often happens in cases where you might outshine others or achieve something huge faster than most people.

You might find yourself downplaying it with statements like, “I just got lucky”, or hesitating to share the good news with others.

Well, the only person you should apologize to in this case is yourself. Because YOU deserve to be celebrated!

Apologizing for your success sends a message that you don’t deserve your achievements, which isn’t true (and you know it!). 

You know very well how hard you worked, how your success wasn’t just a matter of luck and timing. So do away with the guilt. You can be humble without being apologetic. 

Actually, that goes for everything on this list – you can be assertive, curious, and authentic as much as you wish. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone, there’s no need to apologize

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