I'm a recovering overapologizer.
I've spent my life tossing out apologies like candy in a parade — and collecting unnecessary guilt and insecurities in return. Owning what isn't mine to own, simply to keep the peace or to make someone else feel better, has left me living apologetically — as though I should feel sorry for simply being me.
I'm over it.
So I'm intentionally curbing the word sorry from my vocabulary, which is no small feat, I assure you. But as someone who genuinely wants to say what she means and mean what she says, it's a worthy fight.
So I'm saying excuse me when that's really what I intend, and how frustrating or I hate that for you when expressing understanding and solidarity. And I'm replacing the bulk of my apologies with appreciation.
Instead of "I'm sorry I'm all over the map right now," — "Thank you for listening to my unpolished thoughts."
Rather than "I'm sorry I didn't catch that typo." — "Thank you for noticing that. I'll correct it before I send it out."
Instead of "I'm sorry I can't make it." — "I can't make it, but thank you so much for thinking of me."
Rather than "I'm sorry I'm so blah tonight; I'm really not feeling well." — "Thank you for being a trusted friend I can still spend time with even when I'm not feeling my best."
I'm flipping the script, changing what could be perceived as a negative into a moment of gratitude.
And saving my apologies for when they are actually warranted.
But — for the love! — don't call me sensitive.
Life is too short — and my energy too low — for me to do (optional) things I only feel halfhearted about.
Especially when wholeheartedness is my goal...
So, my new filter for decision-making is simple:
If it's not a hell yeah, it's a no.
"'No' is a complete sentence." I believe it's Anne Lammott who gets credited with that sentiment, which I've been more mindful of these days.
There are times when explanations are unnecessary, when I do not need to justify or defend my decisions, when no is really all I need to say...
I used to live with a great deal of certainty when it came to my faith (not realizing till much later in life that it was only a mirage of certainty). I thought I had all the answers.
Nowadays, I say I don't know fairly often. I'm quick to admit I don't have all the answers. And I've learned to sit in the messy and uncomfortable uncertainty...
This, I've discovered, is what faith really is.
I was recently recounting some of the circumstances that unfolded surrounding my divorce. And I was struck anew by the enormity and depth of betrayal I've endured. There were just so many layers of it, from so many people. It's dumbfounding, really, to think back on all I've come through.
(And, for the first time, I'm grateful for my fuzzy brain, because it can no longer remember most of the details. And that is an enormous gift.)
So I continue to chase and build resilience — strengthening my ability to bounce back from all life throws my way.
Because, as always, life isn't done pitching.
I cringe every time the question is asked.
"Where did you go to college?"
I typically say something about the School of Hard Knocks as I try to make light of my own embarrassment and (dare I say it) shame.
This time, the question was followed up with, "Well, then how were you qualified to run that nonprofit?" I sat there in astonishment, staring back at the older gentleman with the scrunched-up disdain on his face. And while I stammered out some sort of reply, what I wish I'd said is this:
You know what I've learned in my life? That it serves me well not to be the smartest person in the room. I've always tried to surround myself with wise and experienced people — and I'm not afraid to ask stupid questions. And that is how I've managed to accomplish pretty much everything in my life, nonprofit included.
Yes, sir. Even without a degree.