Stop saying sorry.
To all the women and all femme identifying folk out there, stop saying sorry.
Why are we apologising, and what are we apologising for?
You’re sitting at a lecture, and you hold your hand up to ask a question, you start by saying “Sorry…”, but why?
By observing a situation at an ordinary discussion event or a lecture at university, it is most likely that the women would apologise for raising a question or a point. However, the men in the room would never start a sentence with “Sorry”.
Why do we say “sorry” so much?
Saying sorry for no reason is almost like apologising for your existence when in fact you have nothing to apologise for. It’s a way of apologising for claiming space, something most men are not concerned with. So why is it that women and femme identifying folk tend to say sorry so much?
Women traditionally were told not to have a voice in front of the men, therefore if a woman was to raise a point she’d have to apologise as it would have been considered rude for her to take up a space that didn’t belong to her, but in the 21st century, we are more than far removed from those ideologies, however, we still keep on apologising.
“Women apologise more often than men do, according to a new study.”
Saying sorry is a way of being polite and also is part of our mannerism. However I keep hearing women apologising for things that they don’t need to apologise for, I started noticing it in myself more and more, I’d apologise for having questions, for having an opinion, for having a voice, for not giving way to men on the sidewalk, and even for getting offended when I had every right to be. But one day I came across a piece of writing that talked about how women need to stop saying sorry, and for me it confirmed the fact that we do in fact spend a lot of energy apologising.
The word sorry is a powerful word, it has the power of proving to someone that you are truly apologising, it also has the power of making you feel guilty and even unworthy.
I started an exercise; for a whole week I stopped saying sorry, I replaced “Sorry” with “Thank You” for example if I was running late for a meeting, I’d say “Thank you for being patient” and gradually after a week it became a routine to not use the word sorry.
I started to feel much stronger in within myself. Not having to constantly say sorry, especially when battling with mental health makes it harder to do very easy tasks, and we tend to apologise for our poor state of health instead of seeking understanding.
Of course a confidence boost applies to all genders, but as a woman, I found something powerful in not saying sorry every day, there is a sense of reclaiming power when you know you are entitled to having an opinion and existing in your own way, and not having to apologise everyday for being who you are.
So maybe try this exercise and see the difference for yourself.
By Katy Jalili