I have a bad habit of apologizing. Most of the time being able to apologize is a good thing, but in my case I spend 75% of my time just being sorry that I might’ve offended someone. I hoped that by this point in my life I’d have figured out how to live unapologetically, but I haven’t. I woke up the other day and my first thought was that I wanted to live and parent and exist with joy. Now I know that is setting the bar pretty high. But at the very least I want to not be exasperated or feeling at my wits end every thirty minutes. Maybe if I spent less time worrying about how other people might perceive me or my children I could find some of that joy?
So I decided to make a list of things I often feel sorry for:
- My tendency towards harsh tones in my voice
- My kids’ behavior
- My parenting
- My attitude
- How I interact with the rest of the world
What I learned from making this list was surprising.
- I can’t control how other people choose to hear my words. Meaning I can only speak to the best of my ability, and yes make an effort to convey kindness, but I can’t waste time worrying that someone may have interpreted something I wasn’t trying to convey.
- Children will be their own people. No matter what we do our children will always have moments that we are not proud of. Getting hung up on how other people perceive my child and worrying that they might hold her actions against her is not healthy. For that matter, if someone does react to my child in this way they are not people we should spend time with.
- I am just a mom doing my best. It’s ok to be imperfect, I am human and each day I can be different from the one before.
- I can only control how I feel about my attitude, not how other people feel about it. I should not be sorry for perceptions I cannot control.
- How I interact with the rest of the world is only up to me. If at the end of the day I think it was good then that must be true.
Dissecting this list helped me realize a few things, most of the things I have an issue feeling sorry for share a common resolution. That the key to joy is to really accept who I am and be kind to that person, and that being sorry won’t make me happy, and it probably won’t make other people happy either. So I have decided that from now on I will only be sorry when necessary, i.e. someone coming to me and asking for an apology. I don’t want to be an insecure example for my children, I want to be a strong woman not a woman who is sorry by default.