Thursday, March 13, 2014

All Apology

I never used to apologize.

As an Army brat, I moved around a lot, and I was often the new kid.  For those not in the know, being the new kid equals being fodder for the bullies.  I got picked on quite a bit, and I had to grow a hard shell rather quickly.  Part of my defense system involved the idea that I shouldn't have to apologize for anything because I was always right.  Freud probably would have had a field day with all the meaning behind that, but I was just an oversensitive kid trying to get through my day without getting pummeled or ending up with a wedgie. We all do what we have to do to survive.  

So I never apologized for anything, back in the day.  To apologize meant that I was wrong, and back then, I was never wrong.  Never.  Not once.  Oh, people often tried to tell me that I was wrong.   A boy named Tyler told me that I was wrong that cold sores were herpes, for example.  I lovingly wrote a research paper on the subject, put it into an envelope with lots of hearts drawn carefully on it, and gave it to him right in front of a crowd of his friends.  Of course, he never spoke to me again, but since he usually insulted me, I wasn't that upset.

College is a great place for epiphanies, there among all those books and that whole learning thing.  My great epiphany in college was that I needed to admit it when I was wrong.  I should be strong enough, and smart enough, to be able to take responsibility and admit my faults, as terrible as they might be. So I started to say that I was sorry more often. 

But a funny thing happened when I started to apologize more often--I felt worse, not better.  I felt less than, not equal. Why was this?  Because many of the things I was apologizing for weren't things that I did, but were parts of who I was.  I wasn't ladylike enough?  Sorry.  I don't smile enough? So sorry. I wasn't perky?  Sorry.  I hate math?  Sorry for that as well.  A person can only take so many of those kinds of apologies before they are reduced to nothingness. Another epiphany:  I'm a person, not a doormat. 

I've grown up quite a bit since then.It has been a work in progress, this letting go of the need to be right and learning to apologize. My husband has been a big help.  I have learned to ask forgiveness for things I've done wrong. I've learned to say that I'm wrong, and mean it. I'm still horrible at understanding nonverbal cues, and I miss things.  I don't always have to be right anymore, and that sometimes I am flat out wrong, and that the world doesn't end in either case.  I learn from the experience, and I grow.  

Mama’s Losin’ It

1.) The last time you apologized to someone was for...


  1. You make such a good point here. I often find myself apologizing for things that are part of who I am, but instead I should focus on apologizing for actions I took that were wrong. There's a huge distinction there.

  2. I hear you on this subject.....just yesterday I told Mr Bankerchick "I'm sorry" .....for something.... and he said "why? It;s not your fault"

  3. Great post! While I do think we should apologize when our behaviors are wrong, we need to stop apologizing for who we are.

  4. Even saying "I'm sorry", has a lesson in it. I love how you discovered yourself along the way. Your post was well written. Very enjoyable to read.

  5. Taking responsibility for our mistakes is a growing process. It is good when we apologize for our behavior, but not for who we are. Like everything else, it is a balance.

  6. I've stopped saying I'm sorry at work. I'll find many ways of apologizing, but honestly, most often what ever happened was because of some one else's stupidity first, and they are not sorry, so why should I be? You're so dead on when you say that the more you did it, the worse you felt. I'd rather a heartfelt apology than a bunch of rehearsed ones.

  7. Oh dear, the apologizing for the things that we are...ouch...near and dear my friend.

  8. Great post! I love the distinction you make between asking forgiveness while not being a doormat. I won't ever apologize for who I am but when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.


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