I was 19 at that time. One friend of mine and I were sitting outside our classes having tea and discussing what we had learned and some other random things. We’d bought biscuits to go with our tea and since I was the one who fetched our tea from the store, I had the packet of biscuits in my hand. I was hogging them with my tea while we were discussing. It was an involuntary action that I had kept the biscuits with me and since we were so into the discussion, I had forgotten to offer them to my friend.
After 3–5 mins, she simply asked me to pass the biscuits as she also wanted to have them.
Now the most natural thing to do is to just pass the packet and continue the discussion we were having. But I had this horrible habit of being sorry about everything.
So, instead of just simply passing the packet, I blurted out “I am so sorry. I completely forgot to offer you biscuits or ask you if you wanted to have them.” And this is just what I said. In my mind, I’d be like “how selfish am I.” I’ll continuously be apologetic about the next 5 things in the conversation with her and then some more.
And that was not with a single someone. I was like this with everyone. Being sorry for standing somewhere to people who’ll say excuse me even though I was standing at the right place and they were wrong, being sorry for how messy I was with food in front of people even though my clothes get dirty not theirs, being sorry for asking questions, being sorry for being direct, being sorry for being rude even though the person rightly deserves it, being sorry for wanting things that might not be right according to other people, being sorry for liking things, being sorry for doing things my way, and sometimes being sorry for being sorry.
It was exhausting to be this apologetic about everything. And needless to say, completely wrong.
These past few years I’ve worked and worked hard to be aware of what I am being sorry for.
As girls and women, we are taught to be a certain way and we are put in a box that might not be big enough for us and our personalities since our childhood. So, we start being sorry about our existence if it’s not in a certain way. We start by being sorry about how we sit, talk, eat, dress, and whatnot. Those sorries grow complex in nature as we grow older and we start being sorry about bigger things like what we dream of, what we want to be, who our role model is, and sometimes our complete being.
The box keeps getting smaller as we start being more apologetic. And one day, it suffocates your being and turns you into this pleasing personality that gets molded into different shapes based on the people you are with. You lose touch with who you are and what makes you happy and then you just start finding happiness in making others happy. Which is basically what a “woman” should do.
Well, I’d say Bullshit to that!
You don’t need to be sorry, at all! Especially for the things you are being felt sorry about. You don’t need to be or have to be sorry for being the way you are, walking and talking the way you do, the way you love, the way you eat, what you like, and who you are.
This is a habit that goes unnoticed to most of the girls and women because it’s so normal and acceptable for women to be sorry for everything they are, that it’s hard to notice it. On the contrary, men are taught not to be sorry because otherwise how would their egos grow big if they are sorry about the things they should be sorry about.
The problem is not that one gender is being pushed into the sorry corner. The main problem is that both the genders are pushed into two different extremes of being too sorry and being not sorry at all. When men are taught not to say sorry, they lose compassion and empathy, and the understanding of an important human emotion that later on, they can’t deal with.
I am not saying or asking women to stop being completely sorry but I am asking them to be aware of the things they are sorry about. Ask yourself, “are you really sorry about this? or should I be sorry about this?” Most of the time the answer will be a big NO. So, why hurt your feelings and ego by saying sorry where you are not supposed to and feel smaller than you actually are.
You definitely have to be sorry if you act like a complete dick and an asshole unnecessarily to people who don’t deserve it.
Unlearning being sorry is very tricky because once you start not saying sorry your ego will be boosted and so will your self-esteem. But keep both the things in check because it takes only a few words and sentences to go from being a rational kind person to a complete dick. Not kidding.
So, while you are unlearning being sorry make sure you are balancing it with being grateful and compassionate.
And for men, start saying sorry where it’s needed. It won’t make you less of a man. It might actually make you more human.