6 things you don’t owe anyone an apology for, according to psychology

There is a time and place for an apology.

And no, seeing someone stab their toe against your sofa isn’t it. Nor the bad weather. Nor the injustice of the world entire. Nor your desire to spend some time alone, with no people present.

I used to be someone who over-apologized constantly, dropping “sorry” throughout my sentences like it was the fuel I ran on.

That was before I realized that there were many things I didn’t owe anyone an apology for, and doing so only served to undermine me – not to mention it could get really freaking annoying.

So, what are the 6 things you don’t owe people an apology for, I hear you ask?

Let’s find out.

1) Your social batteries

Last year, I went on a holiday with my two introverted friends.

It was fabulous. Every time one of us got overstimulated, she was free to detach from the group for a bit and go on her own adventure, be it exploring the city on her own or chilling in the hotel room bed.

We had a collective understanding that we simply had no control over our social batteries – if they run out, they run out. There was not much we could do about it apart from taking the necessary alone time to recharge.

Of course, extroverts function differently. They get their energy from socializing with others, which means that they generally need to spend more time in the company of other people.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.

What matters is that your social batteries are something that’s largely out of your hands, and therefore, the fact that you need alone time or need to be around others is nothing you should apologize for.

According to Medical News Today, here are the signs you’re running low on social battery:

  • You feel weary, stressed or burned out
  • You’re less interested in talking than you were before
  • You feel a desire to go home or be somewhere familiar
  • You need to do something quiet, such as reading or watching a film

2) Your boundaries

In her book Set Boundaries, Find Peace, therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab highlights you shouldn’t apologize for setting and honoring your boundaries.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t feel guilty. It’s hard to set limits, especially if you’re a people-pleaser who’s just now learning to assert your needs in your relationships.

But as Tawwab explains:

“Remember: there is no such thing as guilt-free boundary setting. If you want to minimize (not eliminate) guilt, change the way you think about the process. Stop thinking about boundaries as mean or wrong; start to believe that they’re a nonnegotiable part of healthy relationships, as well as a self-care and wellness practice.”

You may feel guilty, but practice makes perfect. And feeling guilty doesn’t mean you should apologize. It just means you’re going through the process of asserting yourself.

So, repeat after me: you don’t owe anyone an apology for stating your needs and establishing your boundaries.

3) Your feelings

Boundaries are usually born from feelings.

If you feel upset by someone’s behavior, you’re naturally going to tell them not to do it again.

But in order to honor your boundaries, you first need to feel certain that your feelings are valid.

Yes, it’s okay to be upset. Yes, what they did was hurtful. Yes, you’re not overreacting.

“Everyone wants to feel that they matter. They want to be heard and seen, and they want their feelings to be understood and accepted. Validation helps a person feel cared for and supported,” says Psychology Today.

And while receiving external validation is important – especially in close relationships – it’s also essential that you know how to validate your own experiences and emotions.

If you can do that, you won’t be easily manipulated, and what’s more, you’ll find it easier to speak up for yourself and look after your well-being in the best way you know how.

However, do keep in mind that while you don’t ever have to apologize for how you feel, there is a difference between a feeling and your reaction to it.

4) Your work/life balance

My friend and I are going on holiday next week.

Yesterday, he told me that his co-workers had asked him to complete a 3-week project in 3 days just because they’d forgotten about his upcoming holiday and didn’t notify him on time.

He told them he would only complete what he could in the time he was given. They’d have to find someone else to finish the project.

When he told me, I felt very proud of him – growing up, both of us used to be huge people-pleasers, and setting his professional boundaries in this way was a sign of massive improvement.

Good work/life balance is extremely important to your well-being. Remember, you don’t live to work. You work so that you can live.

You are not responsible for other people’s mistakes or unrealistic expectations. Protect your time and energy.

5) Your standards

As someone who went through a big breakup last year, I’m back on the dating scene now.

And while I’m having fun with where I am in life at the moment, going on dates and creating new experiences, I’ve recently realized that the reasons why I decide to break off certain connections often seem unfounded to some of my relatives.

“So what if he works a job whose purpose you fundamentally disagree with? You can’t have everything.”

“You won’t always have amazing conversational chemistry with someone, but there are things more important than that. I think you’re a bit too picky.”

The funny thing is that most of the people who tell me such things used to be or still are in nightmarish decades-long relationships that have wrecked their mental health.

This is your life. Your standards are yours to establish.

You don’t owe anyone an apology for choosing to split up with someone, for being single, or for not granting your parents the gift of grandchildren.

If someone doesn’t fulfil your needs, doesn’t make you happy in the way you need, or isn’t on the same wavelength sexually, it’s okay to let them go – even if you’re a perfect match on paper.

6) Your happiness

If you’re a people-pleaser or if you’re surrounded by people who are susceptible to envy, it’s pretty easy to feel bad about having accomplished a certain level of success in comparison to others.

I say this as a freelancer who gets to work anytime and from anywhere –  not everyone’s going to be happy for you when they see how great you have it.

But if that’s the case, remember that:

  • People who truly care about you will be happy for you and will feel inspired by you rather than envious
  • You worked hard to get where you are in life and you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor
  • Your life is your business; other people’s lives are theirs

So, on a final note, don’t ever feel like you need to apologize for your success or happiness. Enjoying your life is a good thing.

And those who have your best interests at heart will make sure you know that.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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