We’ve heard it before. We should quit apologizing for things that are out of our control; we aren’t perfect and we should give ourselves a break. But what do you do when it’s too difficult? This is something I have always had a trouble with. I have struggled to cut myself some slack because I am harder on myself than anyone else has ever been on me. That is my nature. There are countless articles and blog posts about how it’s important to take time for yourself and drop bad habits so you can lead a healthier, happier life.
This year I decided I would make a New Year resolution that I will have to stick with, no matter how challenging. I am a habitually apologetic person. It’s annoying to myself and those around me. It is also destructive. So here are a few things I think not only I, but women everywhere should stop apologizing for.
1. Saying No
There is nothing wrong with saying no sometimes; it is empowering and freeing. You don’t have to please everyone. If you can’t do something, or if you simply don’t want to do it, say no. It will be okay, I promise. It is important to remember the word no is powerful as the end of a sentence. A lot of times people who want something make us feel guilty for not being able to provide it. Saying no takes a lot of practice – something I know from experience. You might have to continuously work on it, but it is a positive life change. There is no need to weigh ourselves down with more than we can handle.
2. Taking Time For Yourself
You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Whether it’s your job, family, or partner, you won’t be able to do much if you don’t take time for yourself first. Sometimes you need to be alone with your thoughts, get a massage, or go for a run if that’s what makes you happy. Take that time because you deserve it. My job as a direct social services provider causes it’s fair share of burn-out, and I have a hard time admitting I need time-off. I only slow down when I just can’t take it anymore, and it should never get to that point.
3. Ending That Toxic Relationship
This one may be kind of obvious, but it’s important to let go of relationships that causes a high degree of stress. It’s for your own mental well-being, and it’s nothing to be sorry for. Friends that only have negative things to say? Ditch them because you don’t need friends like that. They will only drag you down. Trust me.
4. Not Making Children Your Priority
I don’t know how many times I have been asked when I will have kids. It’s plenty and every single time it’s the same answer: None. So many people have told me I will change my mind. I’m being selfish (how?), and my life would be so much happier once I have children. I’m not saying I don’t like kids because I absolutely do. I have plenty of wonderful kids in my life. It’s just that I still have a lot of goals I’d like to accomplish, and I’m entirely too self-absorbed. Kids are not for everyone. If it’s just not your thing, you don’t owe anyone any explanations. Studies have proven that millennials aren’t having as many children as their parents and grandparents for many reasons. There is actually someone at work, a sweet little old lady, who constantly asks me when I will get married and have some babies. I just don’t have to heart to tell her I have zero interest in it.
So go ahead and work on your dream career, travel the world, or enjoy sleeping in on weekends without feeling guilty.
5. Not Having Your Shit Together Yet
If you believe everything you read on Facebook or Twitter, you will imagine that everyone in your age group has an amazing job they love, a gorgeous apartment in Manhattan, a perfect relationship, and the best outfits. This is bullshit and you shouldn’t let it make you feel badly about your own life.
Rule number one for 2015 should be not to believe everything you see on social media. Yes, some people had their act together by your age, and many of your peers might be successful. But those numbers aren’t as high as you think. Sometimes I sleep until noon on the weekends, spend all day binge watching Orange Is The New Black and munching on Pirate’s Booty. I’ve decided it’s okay because every now and then I need days like that. Stop apologizing for not knowing what you want to do with your life yet or for having five roommates. Cut yourself some slack.
Always try new things. As Amy Poehler said in Yes, Please, “Great people do things before they’re ready.”
Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail. I once uprooted my life, packed my car, and moved to Montreal without so much as a second thought. I also joined a Roller Derby team despite having only skated as a child. Yes, it’s true that I did have to leave Montreal after two years and I no longer skate. But the point is, you won’t know what is right for you until you try. Keep working on finding your true happiness in this world. Who knows? You might find that you are really good at whittling.
*Side note: If you haven’t picked up a copy of Yes, Please yet, you don’t know what you’re missing, I recommend that as soon as you’re done reading this, go out and get a copy.
7. Hating Your Job
This one is personal to many people. I know it is for me. I don’t think it’s easy to admit you hate your job. It’s difficult to accept that the place where you spend 40-hours a week is a place you dread to enter each day. I think many people might be in denial about the fact that they’ve hated their job. They don’t want anyone to know because you should be grateful to have a job in the first place, right? There’s a lot of guilt attached to hating your job when there are so many people who would gladly take it from you. Being unhappy at work forces you to think outside of your comfort zone. It makes you dig deep and think about what it is that you want to spend your time and effort on. Not everyone has to love their job, and that is fine so long as you keep searching for happiness.
As Steve Jobs said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep searching.”
8. Your Feelings
Last but certainly not least, the thing I really want to work on this year is not apologizing for how I feel. It is destructive to my spirit. If you are in a situation where you feel the need to apologize for how you feel, you should run, not walk, away. I am constantly reminding the people I love that their feelings are their own and there’s definitely nothing to be sorry about. Maybe it’s time I practice what I preach.