As I started also listening to myself when I open my mouth to say something, I noticed that this is one of those words I have overused.
“Oh. No need to say sorry.”
Was the response that I often get from apologizing.
Then I asked myself, why am I apologizing for so many things even if it’s clearly not my fault?
I needed to make conscious effort to change this but before I did that I also needed to trace where this came from? It only showed me how little worth I had for myself to apologize for every inconvenience I thought something has caused the other person.
These are the things that I stopped apologizing for:
How I look like and what I wear
My body has been with me through everything that I have gone through in this life. It has seen a lot. This body might never the society’s standard of beauty but it has brought me and accompanied me to every battle and won most of it that’s why it’s still standing until now.
This body allows me to do every sport that I love, dance, move, walk and explore new places and create and I’d be ashamed to embrace its flaws and imperfection? I realized that when I started counting everything that my body allows me to do and thank it for all of them and apologize to it for those times where I was so harsh to it and deprived it the nourishment it needs to function well for everything that I enjoy pursuing, I felt so ashamed that I forced it to shrink to a size that pleases other people’s eyes.
Everyday when I write the things that I am grateful for, I included what I am grateful for my body and I have started noticing how my relationship with my body started changing. I also started honoring every food craving that I have. The more I gave in and fed it what it needs from me, whether it be chips, cake, chocolates or green smoothies, simple soulful soups or vegetarian and vegan dishes, I felt stronger and connected to my body that it still amazes me to see how it functions when I play volleyball or when I go out for a run. I know what my body does for me and I have accepted that I have a unique body type so I stopped beating myself up for how much I eat and what I wear. Life isn’t just about looks.
Read also: 100 Little Things That Make Me Happy
Being too emotional or showing my emotions
“Only animals show their emotions.”
A German guy I once dated told me this and I couldn’t reply. I didn’t have enough courage to contradict someone then and even if I did, I didn’t have enough words to defend or voice my own opinion out. I didn’t have the love, compassion and understanding for myself that I now have to express what mattered to me. I didn’t even know who I was then so I was just depending on other people to do the talking and then I’ll use their words if they feel okay for me.
Read also: 11 Things that Changed Since I Found Myself
I guess this is what happens when you just focus your time and energy in looking good, comparing yourself with other people and wanting to know what they’re up to to see if I wasn’t being left out. Nothing was left in between my ears.
Anyway, so now that I have learned to be patient with myself, accept and love myself for who I am, I realized that there’s no shame in showing who I am and what I am feeling. Screaming and fighting with someone on the streets not included but I cry when I feel like crying and I laugh whenever I feel like laughing. I don’t care who sees me. I don’t care if others will say that I laugh too loud for a lady.
Two or three years ago, I was so ashamed in bawling after an amusement park ride. In all fairness, I have clearly said that I didn’t like rides but I still went ahead just to keep the people I was with company. I was screaming and crying the entire ride and I was sure that the teenagers in front of me was filming me but I didn’t care. I only wanted that ride to stop. Had I respected my own self in not wanting to go, I wouldn’t have to be in that embarrassing situation. Even if I felt more ashamed in showing how that ride made me feel, I realized I didn’t have to.
I am a human being. I am allowed to feel what I feel and I am allowed to show it.
Taking up space
When I started seeing my experiences as rich source of wisdom, I stopped feeling so little and playing small. This is why and how I started appreciating my quirks, my weirdness, the difference I have from other people and the mere fact that everyone of us has a unique thumb-mark despite feeling that the world is already super crowded.
Having this in mind also changed the way I look at my existence in this lifetime. God created me for a reason. My existence has meaning and purpose. Like my unique fingerprint and perspective, this must be used to contribute to the betterment of the world and must be celebrated. This has also made me stop apologizing for my dreams and goals and the things that I do to achieve them. The same way that I stopped apologizing for my passions, interests and hobbies.
Read also: 10 Benefits of Having a Creative Hobby
Expressing my needs and asking for help
I didn’t like asking for help so I almost never asked for it. I always tried to figure things out and do things on my own no matter how much I struggled. I struggled in silence for years because I didn’t want to be seen as weak, social climber or needy. I thought being independent is such a cool thing. I thought it’s the only way to be regarded as strong and intelligent. I minded my own business and I created my own world even if the world already felt heavy on my shoulders.
I have ignored all the signs that I couldn’t go on carry them anymore and I was already suffering from multiple issues that when one more painful thing came up, I was grateful that I still had the ability to see two options: first, keep going and lose it or keep going by letting it all go and just stop to heal, rest and recover and start again.
I read in one of my psychology books that hyper-independence is a trauma response because of the fear to be perceived as weak.
So in this season, I opened myself up even if my pride and ego didn’t really like it so that I’d be able to heal. If I saw the lockdown and corona restrictions as a chance to be alone and lick every wound I had, a point came where I just allowed myself to reconnect and ask for help and accept help. I realized, that although being independent is a good thing, no man is indeed an island. There are things I must do alone but there are also things I must admit that I can’t and will never be able to do alone. The fear of not speaking up has brought me to situations that I never want to be in again so I am learning to feel less sorry for speaking my truth.
Not having it all together
No one has it all together. If someone has it all together, then that person probably knows exactly what the future will bring. Probably there’d be no divorce or annulment because a married couple never thought about the time they’d decide to break their wedding vows when they’re so in loved with each other in that specific moment. Change is the only constant thing and sometimes, even our most tried and tested formula doesn’t work at some point so we have to find a new trick.
We have to roll with the punches that life constantly gives us and it’s okay to admit that we’re still figuring things out like navigating a very dark or painful season or taking our time to pause, rest and when we feel a little better, start taking tiny actions again.
Read also: 9 Ways to Get Through Tough Times
Nobody has a life as polished like what we see on social. They’re just showing a glimpse, a moment, a best moment of their lives. But after that photo has been taken, they’d still go back to their normal lives. We all have problems no matter how much money we have. Even the billionaires have problems and sometimes, when we have less money, our problems are simpler and the more clever we are. We enjoy the things in life that no amount of money can buy.
Understanding and accepting that we’re all works in progress made me kinder, more compassionate and more patient not just with myself but most especially to other people who’re dealing with something I know nothing about.
Protecting my energy
Healing completely required a lot of time and conscious efforts on my part. This is the season where I have gotten to know myself on a very intimate way. I went back tracing everything from my childhood and though days started looking the same and kind of boring, it required a lot of alone time. I was able to learn that through this very selfish stage of my self-love journey, prioritizing my needs and wants is not selfish at all.
That treating myself as someone I love by reparenting my hurt inner child and showing up for myself and taking my own time and pace to be whole, is a strong and solid way of protecting my energy. When I did all these for myself, I realized I can heal, I can be whole and I can come back stronger, wiser, more at peace with myself and I can show up for other people without feeling that I am betraying myself by not giving myself the rest that my entire being needs.
I have learned to accept that I have more needs being a highly sensitive person or even for being an empath and give all those needs to myself and one way is to lessen the time that I spend with other people so I don’t process energies that I absorbed. I have learned t accept that I need more alone time to do everything that I do for my mental health that the results are better when I do them alone.
It’s quite confusing because as much as I love spending time with friends, I also love having a lot of time with myself and though sometimes I feel guilty for wanting my alone time, it is better because I don’t want to be projecting my frustrations to other people so I have learned to stop apologizing for protecting my energy and not always being available and not always responding or picking up right away.
I stopped apologizing for changing my mind and even canceling schedules the last minute to rest and feel myself again than showing up depleted and exhausted. I know so well that I wouldn’t be a good company if I feel like that.
I am not perfect. I don’t know everything and I don’t have the answer for everything and I know that I am not alone in that. What changed is the way that I view failures and how I stopped associating and tying up my worth to the outcome or the result of what I am trying to pursue and being okay to admit that one of my ways didn’t work out and it’s fine.
I have consciously changed my vocabulary like how my perspective has changed. My failures aren’t failures. They are my best teachers and my indicator that I am trying to explore something I am not yet familiar with. So either it succeeded or I have learned. And if it failed, as long as my intentions are pure, I must never apologize for it.
Having a lot of questions
I have accepted that I am a naturally curious person this is why I read a lot and keep on trying new things for me not to feel stuck and helpless and I have realized how important questions are especially when we want to understand things. I have also realized that the quality of our lives depend on the quality of our questions and that sometimes, it is not the answers that are hard to find. Sometimes the answer is there but the confusion comes when the right question is not being found. Sometimes it is the questions that are hard to formulate for us to stumble upon the right answers to find who we are and what really matters to us.
Not working out, not working and just Netflix and chill and do nothing
I used to look at rest as something that must be earned. But these days, I see it as part of my to-do list too. I am now avoiding working myself to burnout and I have learned to stop apologizing if a day passed without me doing anything productive for rest is productive too. I am allowing myself to binge watch Netflix as long as I want it and let creativity interrupt it. I also stopped beating myself up for not being to work out and just do things that are for self-improvement.
Living my life the way I do
Coming from a family and culture that hustles so much, sees resting as laziness, being trained to be nice, always say “yes” and put others’ needs first, it has literally became like a battle to reach this point of liberation to live my life the way I do now. It has literally caused me relationships but the peace that comes with it is worth everything that I have lost.
These days, it is still sometimes hard to not say sorry because it became like a habit or even a hobby to me. I also often don’t realize that I even apologize to my podcast guests for cutting their trains of thoughts or speaking more when that chat was meant for the guest to be doing more of the talking but the good thing is, I am apologizing less and less and I am living my life the way I want it and I not apologizing for that anymore.
How about you? What are the things that you normally apologize for? I’d love to see them in the comment section. Please follow me on Instagram for daily dose of motivation and inspiration and share this with those who matter to you who you think needs to hear this.