Do you often catch yourself apologizing for every little thing, as if you’re actually getting paid for uttering those two little words? Whether you’re squished uncomfortably close to someone else in an elevator, accidentally bumped bags on the subway, or the million other reasons you do, it’s probably unnecessary–unless you actually hurt someone.
In a recent article, Lena Dunham cites Beyonce’s infamous “Lemonade” song as a reason why she’s been thinking about all the ways women overly apologize–including herself–citing her “sorries” began in the 2nd grade:
“I’m not sure when in my life “the sorries” began, but I can distinctly remember apologizing profusely to a girl who didn’t invite me to her birthday party in second grade, after she publicly handed invitations out to the whole class in front of me. Sorry for my tears. Sorry you had to be mean. Sorry I’m not the kind of person you’d want to attend a Sunday afternoon romp at the YMCA. Sorry.”
While it may sound like a trivial think to write an article about, it’s actually really not, because constantly apologizing means a few things are happening to your mental health: You are thinking of yourself as a burden; you are internalizing your emotions; you are putting yourself last; you are avoiding confronting other people when they upset you. Dunham addresses this, stating:
“Because the fact is, a lot of the time when I say sorry it’s because I’m mad. Really mad. So mad that I’m afraid anything but sorry will cause me to explode and drip my hideous rage juice all over someone I’m simultaneously pissed at and trying to please. And so saying sorry serves as a sort of cork, making sure my emotions are contained and packaged neatly. Sorry is the wrapping paper AND the bow.
Because it turns out saying sorry somehow makes you sorrier. In friendships, it creates tension and some odd drama where there wasn’t any.”
Because of this, Dunham’s dad gave her the challenge to NOT apologize for an entire week–while she admits she didn’t always succeed, it made her rethink why she apologizes, and what she should say in its place. This has prompted me to do the same, starting today. Hopefully, I won’t fail too miserably at it. But even if I do, I won’t apologize for it.