From a young age I grew up around people who say sorry a lot.
And I mean a lot. My family and peers were largely such polite and apologetic people that they’d say sorry for being in too good of a mood!
This ingrained a pattern in me of saying sorry frequently and feeling like I had to explain, justify and apologize for my actions and place in the world.
It took me years to realize that not only is this not the case but also that being too apologetic and self-effacing actually makes other people feel uncomfortable and stifled as well. This is a huge roadblock to relationships and genuine connections.
Now let’s look at all the things you don’t owe anybody an apology for.
1) You want a life that’s out of the ordinary
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a life that’s built around routine, tradition and the culture you grew up in.
But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to break out of that and lead a life out of the ordinary.
Don’t say sorry for wanting more, for wanting something different.
There’s a tendency in many over-apologizers to look for the approval of others before taking a step. Don’t do this. Advice? Sure. But approval? Not your problem.
2) You see life and the world in a different way
If you see life and the world in a different way, you’re in very esteemed company.
Personally I was bullied severely growing up due to seeing the world and life in a different way and being a bit over-analytical, but as I grew up I came to see that it wasn’t that I was crazy it’s just that I was looking at things on a deeper level and some kids found that “weird.”
Be weird. Who gives a f*ck.
Weird people become rich, change the world and end up having much better lives.
Do that and don’t ever say sorry for thinking for yourself.
3) You’re imaginative and creative at a level some find too much
This ties into the previous point about being a little different:
What would have happened if J.R.R. Tolkien had listened to buddies who said he was too lost in his fantasy worlds? He would have put down his pen and we’d never have been introduced to the wonderful world of the Lord of the Rings.
Or if Van Gogh put down his paintbrush or Edison stopped trying to invent the lightbulb.
I’m not saying you’re going to be a prodigy just because you have a grand imagination, but that’s not even the point:
Being creative and imaginative is its own reward ultimately.
You get to inhabit amazing worlds and share them with others: winning.
4) You have big dreams that others find unrealistic
This goes back to the tendency to people-please and seek approval I mentioned earlier in some over-apologetic people.
You may do this even without realizing it, going to get a degree because your parents pressure you and then feeling miserable…
Or giving up on your idea of writing a screenplay because your friend tells you that your idea you’ve been working on for two years is boring.
Your big dreams are unrealistic? Congratulations: this is the start of making them realistic and bringing them down to earth.
Don’t apologize for dreaming big, just take action instead.
5) You have your own schedule and priorities and aren’t always available
You have no requirement to be on call for anybody.
Even your significant other or your parents and family need to understand that sometimes you’re just plain busy.
There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact there’s a lot right with it!
Get in the habit of saying: “I’m caught up right now, can we schedule it for tomorrow / next week?” or “Can I call you back in about an hour?”
Omit the “sorry…” that you usually say in the course of promising to get back to someone.
Why are you sorry? You’re just busy. Do you!
6) You sometimes act out of self-interest and personal advancement because you want to succeed
Don’t ever be sorry for wanting to succeed. You shouldn’t apologize for wanting to make money, grow your business and be a happy, fulfilled person.
There are times you call somebody only out of self-interest to discuss a business deal, for example:
You can’t make chit chat, sure, but eventually you cut to the meat of it and pivot.
Don’t say “sorry to bring up business” or “I dunno, sorry, but maybe you’d be interested in…”
Be confident! Pitch your idea! Be proud to want to succeed and make money, including if it sometimes involves somebody collaborating or even helping you out.
7) You say no to people and requests that go against your values or plans
When people try to pressure you or get you into things that go against your values, you have the right to say no.
There’s no need to say “sorry, but…”
Just say “no thanks.”
This may seem like a very small detail, but learning to not verbally apologize for things which are fully your right is powerful.
It reshapes your mentality so that you stop thinking you owe somebody an explanation or justification for sticking to your guns.
8) You sometimes have difficult emotions that are hard to explain or express even to those close to you
There are times when all of us just want space and time alone.
This isn’t bad or something we should feel guilty about. Just as you would respect a loved one or colleague who is going through something, so others should respect that with you.
We all have times that introspection or even a few days in bed are called for due to the pressures, tragedies and disappointments of life.
Don’t apologize for it.
You’re living your life, including the hard parts.
9) Your own personal safety and well-being takes precedence when you feel under threat
When you are threatened, you have an absolute right to defend yourself.
Do not look around for permission or start by being sorry.
“Sorry, but this guy is trying to scam us…”
“Sorry to cause drama, but I feel like you’re being really pushy about us sleeping together.”
Why are you sorry?
Forget about that. You draw your line in the sand and you stand over it with your fist cocked. You never need to apologize for standing up for your own safety and boundaries.
10) You hold beliefs which your experience has ingrained in you whether or not others find them agreeable
The same goes for your beliefs. As long as you’re not actually pushing beliefs on anyone or being aggressive, you don’t need to justify what you believe.
You don’t need to hope others approve, like or find your views cool.
You don’t need to live up to an advertising image or a TV show trope.
You have the right and ability to live life on your own terms and by your own values.
11) You’re leveling up and getting stricter in every area of your life
Don’t apologize for getting more disciplined and strict in your life.
If you are leveling up to a higher standard in your fitness, your mental health, your career and your relationships, that’s something to be proud of.
Sometimes people will act like you’re trying too hard, but it’s your life.
If you want to go pedal-to-the-metal in your schedule and in your goal-setting then that is absolutely your prerogative.
12) Your friendships and relationships are evolving and some are ending
As we grow and evolve, some friendships and connections come to an end.
This may include serious relationships and childhood bonds. It can certainly be sad, which I know about, but that doesn’t mean it’s unnatural or bad.
Life is change, and you don’t need to apologize for changing or growing in a way that no longer fits quite exactly with everyone else.
At the end of the day you’re
13) You care deeply about spiritual or religious truth
This is nothing to apologize for or justify. Wanting to find the truth and caring what it is makes you a sensitive and genuine person.
This is one of the things I was bullied for growing up was my more philosophical nature and asking deep questions like “what’s the point of life?” in grade 8 or 9.
“Shut up f*g, who cares!” other students laughed.
Well, I won’t shut up.
And I still care and find beliefs and spiritual and religious truth absolutely fascinating and extremely important.
If you do too, welcome to the club.