losing it: apologies
It’s a while since I wrote about it, but I haven’t forgotten about my pledge to let go of a lot of stuff, and I’m going to be posting soon about some of the bigger (and more tangible) things I’ve said goodbye to lately.
This is just a small thing — tiny really — but I get the feeling it could be life-changing:
I’m letting go of apologising for my existence.
I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I have the tendency to add “if possible” to the end of sentences. “I’d like to see you, if possible.” I’d like a review copy, if possible”. “I’d like to write for you, if possible.” It’s like I have to prepare for the potential for rejection by building it in to every request. And it has to make me seem nervy and not confident, afraid to be bold enough to just state my desires. So I’ve started deleting it from sentences every time I spot it. Knowing it might not be possible and asking anyway. I also add ellipses (…) to the end of sentences, as if I don’t quite trust them to stand alone. It’s time to stop it, to just say things.
I’m sorry but… I’m not sorry
Even worse, I often say sorry for stuff that’s not my fault or even my responsibility.
Most often: when I can’t do something that someone expects or wants from me, I say sorry. But why should I be sorry? I can be polite, I can be kind, but I don’t have to take on the responsibility of being sorry.
This week I have to turn down five things I don’t want to do, which seems like a lot in a short space of time, but is a great test for me.
I don’t know why I find saying no so hard, as if people will be utterly devastated, their lives hinging on the hope only I can bring them. I know I’m not that important. But I’m a people-pleaser and confrontation-hater from way back, and have convinced myself I wanted to do things more times than I can count, just ‘cos I’m scared of letting someone down. Of not being the person they think I am. Of making them do stuff on their own. But now I see how much I’ve let myself down by wasting my life on stuff I don’t really care about.
So I’m firmly but kindly starting to say no — sans “sorry”.
It feels weird. But it feels liberating, too.
Have you been apologising for yourself when you don’t need to? Tell me! (Or don’t — it’s entirely up to you.)