I just came back from a family vacation in Switzerland. It was amazing, fun and I enjoyed touring, sight seeing, playing and being with my family. It was also challenging, there is nothing like being with your family 24/7, for two weeks, to highlight your and their patterns.
One thing that I noticed loud and clear about our patterns is that my family tends to resent me, think I have it better, and that I try to downplay myself, get smaller around them to make them feel better and apologize constantly for just being. This pattern of apologizing is something that I see in many of the women I work with in my consultation programs and groups. Now, there is nothing wrong with saying I am sorry when you really mean it, but what happens when ‘I am sorry’ becomes a pattern and a way of being for us?
Many women feel apologetic for being ‘too’ something.
We downplay who we are, we shine less brightly, we curb our joy because we are afraid it will make others feel less than.
This pattern gets in our way big time. It does not help us live the lives that we want. It is another form of not prioritizing ourselves, our lives and our health, of not making our joy and our well-being our most important goal.
I also see a very clear connection between this apologetic way of being and our relationship with our body and food. Being apologetic makes us feel bad about ourselves, as women we tend to project those feeling onto our bodies, and we feel bad about our thighs, our wrinkles, our cellulite, our hair… We turn to food for comfort and distraction and then feel bad for eating emotionally… And we create this shame and guilt cycle that just gets bigger and bigger.
I am deciding to examine and transform this pattern of saying and feeling ‘I am sorry’ and really ask myself “What am I apologizing for?” If I am apologizing for being me, for who I am, for how I live, for the choices I make, for being my brilliant and magnificent self, I intend to stop and take a moment to appreciate myself, value my life and my path and turn this pattern around. I invite you to join me.
I would love to hear if you have a pattern of apologizing and downplaying yourself and how it has affected your life and your health.
I am starting a waiting list for my fall women wellness groups. Email me if you’re interested in learning more.
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Connecting with: “When we downplay who we are, we shine less brightly, we curb our joy because we are afraid it will make others feel less than.” It’s clear that this message resonated deeply with you, Rachel. And I appreciate how you brought light to a dark situation…apologizing for who we are.
Apologies be gone!
Such an important post, Rachel. I’m part of a women’s writing group and this exact topic came up at our last meeting. Here’s to shining out light just as it is — without apology for its brightness!
I teach a women’s empowerment course called Leap to Confidence to women overcoming domestic violence, homelessness and other life challenges and for one of our session we explore empowering language and how often we diminish ourselves and lower other people’s expectations of us by the words we us. I am sorry is a big way we disempower ourselves, especially when we are apologizing for just being or being our authentic selves. Great article and reminder about how this habit gets reinforced!
My days of apologizing ended with my divorce. Now I work on shinning my light so that other women in my family, especially my daughters and granddaughters, learn how important it is to shine theirs.
Interesting timing. I’ve recently started Yin Yoga — focused on our female energy. I haven’t been at it for long but suspect I will apologize less while taking up more space! And you reminded me that I’d like to return to Switzerland. Thank you for that, too.
How many women’s sentences are punctuated with a perpetual “sorry”?! Good observations!
I Love how empowering this post is. Thank you for sharing.
It’s interesting that we see this “I’m sorry” pattern more in women than men. With writers like Brene Brown and others shining a light on this issue, we are seeing more women owning themselves and hopefully accepting who they are. Let’s hope the younger generation of girls will grow up with an “I Am” attitude and be unapologetic in how they show up in the world.
I am always apologizing. I am getting tired of that pattern!