Sorry I’m not sorry

“The thing is, people often think when you’re telling them something, you’re telling them because you’re  seeking approval and advice. So they start telling you everything that’s wrong with your decision or listing all the ways you should handle the matter. […] But owning it is about making it clear that you aren’t asking people for permission; you’re telling them what you’re doing.” ~Rachel Wilkerson

I came across a magnificent post by Rachel Wilkerson on Blogher’s Own Your Beauty area called Don’t Say You’re Sorry. Just Own It. (Go read it, it’s wonderful!) This post ties together many themes I’ve explored recently, including compulsive apologizing, feeling guilty for doing what I want to do with my life, and owning things about myself, like my sense of wander, that other people may not like.

She talks about how, as women, we often feel so guilty for being who we are and doing what we want to that we spend most of our time either apologizing or trying to justify ourselves to everyone who questions our decisions. Her solution is simple: stop apologizing and start owning it.

Own your decisions. Own your feelings. Own your desires. Own your accomplishments. Own your dreams. Own yourself.

She found that in doing this, she not only felt better, she also dramatically decreased the time and energy she spent trying to justify herself, defend herself, or listen to criticism about her choices. As her quote above points out, people tend to respond to things we tell them as if we want their approval and advice, and so they give it. Even when that isn’t what we wanted at all.

I know I do it to others, generally without even realizing it.

Other people do it to me all the time. In fact, I seem to attract more than my fair share of that behavior, and it drives me nuts. I share something about what’s going on in my life, then I get treated to a barrage of questioning of my decision, and when I stay firm with my decision, I’m treated as if I am being obstinate and unreasonable! How does that work? Until I read this, I’ve never been able to figure out why I attract that kind of behavior. But I think she’s right about the cause.

When it is clear to me that someone else is just telling me what they are doing—that they’ve fully owned their decision and are just notifying me—I am much less likely to question it. I treat it like the statement it is and not like a request for advice or approval in disguise. I suspect that the more I can convey that sense of ownership to others, I will find that behavior toward me decreasing as well.

So I’m going to be practicing using her favorite phrases a lot in the coming days. (Thanks for these, Rachel!)

“Sorry I’m not sorry.” (This one makes me laugh every time I think it, which should help me keep the mood light.)

“I’ve owned it.”

And if all else fails, “I’m over it.” As she says, this last one really means that my decision about my life isn’t open for discussion.

So what are you ready to own? Hop on over to Rachel’s post and join in the conversation.

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.

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2 thoughts on “Sorry I’m not sorry

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