I grew up in a very traditional home in Peru. My mom was a home maker, my dad worked in the navy. My mom cooked every night, helped with homework, always looked beautiful (full make-up, heels, perfect hair). She always smiled in public and entertained flawlessly.
A few years into my childhood, things changed. My father found other people that were more interesting than my mother and left. Came back and left. Came back and left. 4 times.
My mother, that had been a valedictorian in school, an artist, a great cook, a teacher was faced with the realities of 2 small children, no money, no work and no husband.
What did she do? She raised us why she knitted, cooked, embroidered, made dolls, etc to support us. It was not easy, I vividly remember a week when I did no see her eat at all and we had to eat some type of cucumber that grew in our garden, with rice. For a week. Every day, every meal. I still gag at the thought of it.
Still, when my mother called a client of the phone or collected money for her sales, she always apologized for calling, for reaching out, for being in an uncomfortable position. She worked so hard she dislocated her arm twice. She, that was raising 2 kids without any support was asking for forgiveness… I don’t know why…
I never realized it, until I caught myself doing exactly the same, about 2 years ago.
I realized I said “I am sorry” more times that I said “This is why I disagree” or “No” or “My opinion is…” I always started with “I am sorry” or “excuse me”. It was ridiculous (and still is because I still catch myself doing it!).
Everyday, I have to remind myself to not apologize for having an opinion, for disagreeing, for being frustrated or upset and frankly for somethings feeling like I want to kill someone.
This is my personal journey, a journey of “Owning my Own Power”. I work at it and I think I am getting better and better but it is something that is shared by many of us, mostly women that juggle work, families, personal life, interests, volunteer work and yet we apologize profusely for who we are and for what we want.
I ran a search for “dejemos de pedir disculpas” (Spanish for “let’s stop saying I am sorry”) and I got over 300,000 hits on ways to say “I am sorry” or tips on saying “I am sorry”. I am of course, not discounting that asking for forgiveness is esential in life when making a mistake or hurting someone. My point is entirely related here to asking for forgiveness when someone has done nothing wrong.
This is a long post and very personal. If I made you unconfortable, deal with it. I am not saying I am sorry 😉