Unnecessary Apologies v. The 3 Rs

Every now and then, take the time to sit back and hit rewind to reflect on all that you’ve said and done. A lot of times, you’ll catch yourself on having done something that you probably regret. But when we talk of regret, we mostly acquaint it with numerous bad decisions ranging from anger to temptation to impulse. We regret the action and we apologize. Women especially apologize a ton. We never really directly associate regret with apology.

This can seem like a new concept to many, and perhaps spark some disagreement; sometimes, you probably should regret having apologized. You’d be lying if you say you never really regretted apologizing to someone for something that wasn’t in your control.

You apologize when you feel you’ve done something wrong, even when you haven’t, or perhaps to put an end to a fight where you weren’t at fault. You feel it’s unfair to put your feelings before someone else’s, and so the guilt starts to act. Men definitely possess the ability to make women feel guilty. But regardless of whether it was a man or woman, apologizing unnecessarily only feeds their ego and justifies their accusation on you.

Being ‘fair’ to someone else in this scenario will only make you unjust towards yourself. You apologize for something that wasn’t your fault, thereby making it seem as though it was you in the wrong. That’s incorrect judgment, that’s injustice.

How about replacement? You’ve reflected, you’ve regretted and you can finally replace.

Try replacing an unnecessary apology with an expression of clarity; something solid that doesn’t suppress your voice, your opinion and your choice.

Let’s go over a few practical replacements:

  • ‘I’m sorry, I can’t give you my number’ to ‘I don’t want to give you my number’
  • ‘I’m sorry, I look like a mess today’ to ‘I’m exhausted from working all day’
  • ‘I’m sorry, this fight is my fault’ to ‘I am not apologizing just to please you, even when you’re wrong’
  • ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out today’ to ‘I am not feeling it today, let’s hang out some other day’
  • ‘I’m sorry, I seem a little gloomy’ to ‘I’m struggling mentally and I need time to myself’
  • ‘I’m sorry, but my answer is no’ to ‘No’

You’ll notice how a few of them seem what some people would call slightly ‘harsh,’ while the others seem polite. You can be fair with yourself and be polite at the same time.

The replacements are situation-dependent and the response you’ll receive from them is relative to perspective. But, of course, in some situations, the response doesn’t really matter. You know what I mean—if you’re being forced under any circumstance for anything that could hurt you mentally or physically, remember to not precede your ‘no’ with a ‘sorry’. A no is a NO.

When combined and placed against unnecessary guilt, Reflection, Regret and Replacement have the power to protect your voice, your opinion and your choice.

Like this post? View similar content here: Practicing The F Word
by Tazeen Shaikh

Author of ‘The Fire You Don’t See’.
Writing is my sweet escape; I write anything from essays to poetry.
I’m passionate about topics related to mental health, youth power, and feminism.

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