Does anyone else find themselves constantly apologizing for everything? If there was an Olympic medal for over-apologizing, I’m sure I would at least place in the top three. I’ve recently tried to be more aware of this ingrained habit. Honestly, it’s hard to recognize because it’s just the language I’m used to speaking.
- During and after panic attacks- “I’m sorry.”
- Groaning loudly because of fibromyalgia- “I’m sorry.”
- Sneezing- “I’m sorry.”
- Someone bumps into me- “I’m so sorry.”
I could go on and on. The problem is not so much in the moment as the fundamental belief that I have to apologize for basically existing.When I try to use a more balanced approach and I return to those four examples, I realize that I am apologizing for…
- An anxiety disorder I cannot control
- Feeling pain (that I also cannot control) and expressing this pain in a normal human way
- Allergies? Dust? Sometimes sneezes just happen?
- Literally taking up physical space
I am realizing this constant cycle of apologies comes from the core belief that I am not worthy of taking up space. I am terrified of being too much. Deep down, I identify as being a burden. I am something to be apologized for- over and over again.
Recognizing this underlying belief has been incredibly painful. It guides me through each and every day. It is a lens through which I view both myself and the world. Somewhere along the way, I truly forgot how to believe I am worthwhile. Maybe, I never learned. And I’m still grieving that. As much as I believe we are all scared in one way or another of being too much, I think it’s much scarier to realize how little you think of yourself.
So, what can I do about that? I am a firm believer in taking the next best step you can take. For me, the next step looks like cultivating an inner, non-judgemental, compassionate voice. Instead of continually criticizing myself, I’m trying to extend grace and balance to myself. Of course, this is easier said than done.
In the face of crippling self-doubt, this new compassionate voice is trying to say, “Hey. You’re human. You’re allowed to take up space. You are allowed to feel and express emotions. You have deep purpose and infinite worth.”
For now, I usually can’t catch the apology until it has already come out. So, I’m finding the courage to say, “Wait, I’m not sorry. (Insert normal human activity or expression here) is totally okay and human.”
I’m learning to extend the same grace that I give out to our messy complex world to this one very messy and complex human. There is only one me. I’m learning to love and embrace her. I don’t want to push her away anymore.
In the words of Glennon Doyle, “I have met myself, and I am going to care for her fiercely.”