Saying “sorry” and apologizing for certain things is an important aspect of being polite. You’ve been learning about it your whole life, but were you taught about the things you shouldn’t apologize for?
Apologizing is reserved for mistakes, and some things we often apologize for are certainly not worth it – like our thoughts, emotions, body… If you did nothing wrong but still apologize, and if you do that often, it can take a toll on your mental health. It lowers your self esteem, reinforces self-criticism and self-blaming, and it gives others power to belittle you and not take you seriously.
To prevent that as much as you can, keep reading and stop saying sorry for these things!
1. For having an opinion
As long as you are respectful towards everyone and don’t purposely insult others, you are entitled to have an opinion. Even if somebody doesn’t agree with you, you don’t have to change your attitudes and values just so they would fit someone else’s point of view. After all, having and expressing your opinion is what shapes you as a person.
2. For putting your needs first
Being kind is something you should definitely strive for, but neglecting yourself is not the way to do it. You might believe thinking of yourself is selfish, but when you think about it, isn’t it selfish for others to make you put yourself last? Sometimes everything can get so overwhelming, and you just need to take care of yourself without feeling like you’re letting others down. If you don’t take care of your needs, you actually put yourself down.
3. For turning your phone off
Do you know that feeling when you just want to watch Netflix without talking to anyone, but your phone keeps constantly ringing with messages, notifications and calls? It’s like you can’t even get one second of alone time! And you just want to turn it off or put it on silent, but you don’t want to be rude by not replying?
Taking time for yourself and not being available for a bit is not rude, and everyone needs a break from time to time, including you. So don’t feel bad for putting the online world on hold for a bit.
4. For showing your feelings
Things happen sometimes that can make you feel a range of emotions – anger, frustration, fear, extreme happiness, sadness… Having and expressing emotion is what makes you human. But sometimes, especially if the emotion in question is negative, people can find it hard to deal with your feelings. For example, they might think your anxiety about a certain situation is silly and unnecessary. But showing that anxiety (or whatever it is your feeling) is important for you to process. It is not your fault you feel that, and you have the right to express it. No one should be able to take that away from you, and you should never say sorry for it.
5. For crying
Similar to showing emotion, sometimes life gets you down and you just need to have a good cry. Have you experienced feeling better after crying sometimes, like the weight on your shoulders suddenly became easier to handle? That’s what crying can do sometimes. But when you’re around people and you feel the need to cry, you may feel embarrassed and afraid – what will they think of you if they see your tears? So you try to swallow your tears and immediately start apologizing. But you’re not crying on purpose, right? It’s something your body makes you do – like sneezing or coughing. And just like you, everyone cries sometimes, so if someone wants to judge, that’s their problem. Don’t feel like you did something bad if a tear escapes your eye.
6. For the way you look
Have you ever experienced uninvited comments about your appearance? Maybe you dye your hair crazy colors, or wear piercings, or have a bunch of tattoos. Or maybe you’re just “too skinny” or “not skinny enough” for other people’s taste, or you have a few pimples on your face. Whatever it is, nobody should feel welcome to bring you down for the way you look. You are free to express yourself through your style, and every little “imperfection” on your face and body is what makes you beautiful and unique. So don’t apologize for it and own it instead!
7. For your clothes
The same thing goes for the way you dress. Sometimes everyone wants to tell us just how we’re supposed to wear our clothes.
“This dress is too short, this shirt is too open, those pants are too tight, these shoes are too masculine, that coat is too feminine…”
Don’t listen! You don’t have to rethink every piece of clothing before you wear it in fear of criticism. Nobody has the right to dictate what you should wear, so choose the outfit you like the most and ignore what everyone tells you, unless it’s a compliment!
8. For changing your mind
You were supposed to go out with your friends, but suddenly you don’t really feel like going… Or you were supposed to start a new job, but something is telling you it’s not the right fit for you… Or you agreed to go on a date, but you’re not sure you like the person that much…
So you change your mind and decide to cancel. Of course, you apologize for the inconvenience, but what if they push it too far and start giving you a hard time – saying how you ruined their plans or caused problems?
Every polite person should know when to accept the decisions of others. If they find that hard, it means they clearly don’t respect you as a person, so why would you even give them your valuable time? So feel free to change your mind and not feel guilty for it.
9. For not taking other people’s advice
How often do people you’re close with give you advice on how to live your life? Your parents think you should find a better job, even though you love what you do. Your partner thinks your hobby is boring, and suggests you do something else. Your friend thinks your hairstyle is bad, but you like the way it looks on you.
And they might get their ego hurt if you don’t listen to them. They think they are right and just can’t comprehend why you wouldn’t listen to them… But why would you? It is your life and your choices. It’s okay for them to offer suggestions, but it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.
10. For apologizing
Sometimes, you really feel bad for things, whether you’re in the wrong or not. Maybe it’s because you feel guilty about something, or you have low self esteem – you feel the need to say sorry.
Even if you apologize for the wrong things, or apologize too much, I’m sure that apology is sincere and comes from the heart. There is always time to learn and better yourself. If you really want it, one day you will gain that confidence that you need to stop apologizing for everything. Until then, remember that not even apologizing is worth an apology!
Do you agree with these points? Do you think you are ready to take control of your life and individuality and stop saying sorry for the wrong things?
Growing as a person is not linear, and even if you find yourself failing, read this article again as a reminder of why you started. And don’t apologize for needing a reminder!
Thank you for reading!
Written by: Stela Košić
If you wish to find out more about topics on apologies, feel free to check out some of the videos from Psych2Go’s YouTube channel:
- 7 Things You Should Never Apologize For
- 7 Things You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For
- 5 Steps To Apologize Effectively
- 7 Signs of A Fake Apology
- Breines, J. (2013, June 24). When “I’m Sorry” Is Too Much. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-love-and-war/201306/when-im-sorry-is-too-much
- Calm Sage. (2021, February 17). 15+ Things You Need To STOP apologizing For Now. Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-Being. https://www.calmsage.com/things-you-need-to-stop-apologizing-for-now/
- Carver, C. (2021, February 3). Let’s Stop Apologizing for these 8 Things | bemorewithless.com. Be More with Less. https://bemorewithless.com/stop-apologizing/
- Schreiber, K. (2019, October 30). 7 Things You Should Absolutely Stop Apologizing For. Greatist. https://greatist.com/grow/things-stop-apologizing-for