I have recently noticed something about myself. Every so often I go on these self-awareness kicks, trying to figure out who I am and why I do the things I do. And there is something I have caught myself doing quite frequently over the last few weeks: apologizing.
I must say “I’m sorry,” dozens of times a day. Often for things that are not my fault. Or, for just being who I am. And I’m tired of it.
I discovered this with the help of my friend Lynne, who also is a Recovering Apologetic. For most of our lives, we have apologized to the people around us for the most ridiculous things imaginable. We just had a conversation about it. I’ve apologized for standing in the aisle at the grocery store, for making people wait for anything for more than five seconds, for liking chick flicks and the color pink, for being passionate about stories, for basically being a girl, and in particular being me.
In fact, I had previously considered apologizing for the somewhat schizophrenic nature of my last two posts. But I’m not going to. Because they were honest, and true to what I was feeling at the moment I wrote them.
I know I’m not the only one who does this. Why are we so apologetic? Why are we afraid of making people uncomfortable? I worry over inconveniencing anyone at all. And why? Aren’t we all inconvenienced at some point? And don’t we all learn that it’s just part of life, and deal with it?
There is something to be said for honesty, even the brutal kind. I mean, I’m of the persuasion that all things should be in moderation, so I don’t think you can walk around being brutally honest all the time. There are times when tact is called for, and we should be considerate of people’s feelings. We should pick our battles. By the same token, sometimes you gotta speak up, and let yourself be heard.
There are a lot of things I’ve gotten from reading Eldredge, and one is the idea that we ought to be fully who God made us to be. We were made in His image, and we have a bestowed glory that reflects our Maker. But most of us, myself included, walk around shrouded. We’re afraid to let people see us as we truly are. We’re afraid of the consequences of letting people feel the full weight of who we are.
For women, this often means worrying that our feelings and emotions are too much for others to handle. We bottle it up, not wanting to make anyone uncomfortable with what we truly feel. You know what I mean. We do the whole “Oh, no, it’s okay. I’m fine. Really,” thing. We don’t want to be a burden to anyone.
The problem is, sometimes that means we miss out on calling forth the best in others. The bible says that iron sharpens iron, and we sharpen each other. We do that best when we are being honest with each other and not hiding. And not apologizing for being who God created us to be. He made us each to fill different roles, use different gifts, and be different parts of the body. And we need to stop apologizing for being the part He made us to be.
There are, of course, times when it is necessary to say “Sorry.” And sometimes that’s when it’s hardest for me to say! It’s much easier to apologize for things that aren’t my fault than things that are! But you can hold me accountable: from here on out, I only want to apologize for things that genuinely ought to be apologized for. I will no longer say I’m sorry for being who I am. If I can help it.