Ask any psychologist and they’ll tell you just how important healthy self-expression and assertiveness are – they’re certainly not something to apologize for.
And while it’s important to take responsibility for your words and actions, excessive or unwarranted apologies can undermine your confidence, assertiveness, and feeling of sense-worth.
That’s why it’s important to develop self-awareness and fight the urge to say “sorry” all the time.
Here are 11 things psychologists suggest you should never apologize for:
1) Expressing your feelings
Feelings are nothing to be ashamed of, they’re a natural part of being human.
Any halfway decent psychologist will tell you that it’s not healthy to bottle up your feelings. Instead, you should be able to express them – honestly and authentically (while of course being respectful).
Here’s the thing: You shouldn’t have to apologize for your feelings.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy, sad, angry, or excited, you need to remember that your feelings are valid. Don’t ever say “I’m sorry, but I feel that…”
2) Saying “no”
I think it sucks that I actually have to tell you that it’s okay to say “no”, it should be self-evident!
You are not obliged to say “yes” to everything someone asks of you.
And guess what – saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad person either.
Maybe you have too much on your hands, or maybe you just don’t want to do something. That’s totally fine!
You have every right to decide what you’re going to do with your life and your time.
But wait, there’s more…
You don’t have to explain your decision and you most certainly don’t have to apologize for prioritizing your needs or setting limits on your time and energy.
3) Pursuing your goals and dreams
A lot of people let others decide what they’re going to do with their lives.
For example, maybe really like the arts but they’ll study economics because it’s what their parents want.
Or, they’ll marry the kind of person they know their parents will like and approve of (same background, religion, social status, etc.). And they’ll give their parents grandchildren because that’s what is expected…
But what if you don’t want to listen to your parents or anyone else tell you what you should do with your life? What if you want to make your own decisions and follow your own path?
Well then, you should do it!
You have every right to pursue your goals and dreams without feeling guilty or needing to apologize for them.
Life is short so live it how you want and don’t be sorry.
4) Looking out for yourself
Another thing psychologists will tell you is not to apologize for taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
In fact, I think that anyone neglecting their own well-being has a problem. I mean, it’s all very well to think of others and to be altruistic, but you also have to take care of yourself.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that taking part in any self-care activities is not something you should apologize for. Looking out for yourself is a must if you want to maintain a healthy balance and prevent burnout.
5) Standing up for yourself
You most certainly don’t need to say “sorry” for not letting someone bully or intimidate you.
It’s important to put in place some boundaries and let people know that they can’t walk all over you.
So, go ahead and communicate your needs and advocate for yourself without apologizing.
Remember, standing up for yourself is a sign of strength and self-respect, and you should never have to apologize for it.
6) Taking time for yourself
Another thing that you should never apologize for according to psychologists is taking some time for yourself.
Think about it:
Everyone needs a time out every once in a while. We need to relax, think, and recharge our batteries. After all, we’re not machines!
7) Making mistakes
How can we learn if we don’t make any mistakes?
To err is human after all.
In fact, I believe that the only time you should apologize is when your mistake negatively affects someone else.
In short: It’s important to take responsibility for your actions, but otherwise, making mistakes is a normal part of life and an opportunity to learn and grow.
8) Not knowing something
Last time I checked, we didn’t have small AI chips placed in our skulls.
We can’t possibly have all the answers, and admitting when you don’t know something is a sign of honesty and humility.
However, it’s not something you should apologize for!
9) Taking up space
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you have as much right to “take up” space as anyone else.
A psychologist would tell you that you need to recognize your worth and that you shouldn’t be scared to take up space in conversations, relationships, and other areas of your life.
Remember: You belong and deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.
10) Disagreeing or having a different opinion
The truth is that it’s completely natural for people to have different opinions. There’s no rule book that says you should think a particular way.
There’s no reason you should pretend to agree with someone or adopt their point of view to make them happy. It’s totally okay to hold a different point of view and to (respectfully) disagree.
Just remember to be considerate and do it in a constructive manner.
11) Setting boundaries
Your life belongs to you and that means that you have every right to set boundaries. These boundaries define how you want to be treated and how you interact with others.
They’re the emotional, physical, and psychological limits that help protect your well-being.
Boundaries can manifest in various aspects of life, including personal space, time, values, emotions, and communication.
And guess what!
Not only will a psychologist tell you that you should never apologize for setting boundaries, but they’ll encourage you to do so.
You should be able to communicate your needs and limits to others without having to say “sorry”