Wednesday, February 17, 2010

never apologize

Is there ever a time when it's a good thing not to apologize? I happen
to think there are some instances, when it's best to hold back.

I'm the first to admit, I sometimes struggle with low self esteem.
Much of it stems from a childhood environment rife with a toxic mix
of mental health issues and ultra fundamentalism. To this day, my
first reaction is to back down, in typical codependent fashion,
assuming I'm at fault. Before taking time to think through an issue,
I take the blame, in effort to please.

Recently, there was a suggestion that my blog background color
might not be the easiest for reading print. What did I do? I apologized
and immediately went to my Blogger settings and changed it to a
color I hated, just to be compliant. What was I thinking? I loved the
original color. Luckily, I came to my senses and switched it back.
.

Usually, when I react this way, my personal coach, WT, looks me
directly in the eyes, and loudly, in his very best Julia Child voice,
says, "Never apologize!" He reminds me to embrace my creativity
with confidence. This time, he happened to be out of town, so I had to
look in the mirror and quote Julia, complete with a little chuckle.
.
I realize there are times when it is very appropriate, in fact a
necessary sign of respect, to ask to be forgiven. Some people never
feel any remorse for their actions. But for me, Ms. Child's quote is a
very effective way to keep my self confidence in check and my Libra
scales in balance.
.
.

Here's a dozen of my favorite things never to apologize for:
.

1) Never apologize for acting on your instincts.
2) Never apologize for being passionate.
3) Never apologize for being smart.
4) Never apologize for demanding respect.
5) Never apologize for saying no.
6) Never apologize for not embracing someone else's agenda.
7) Never apologize for disagreeing.
8) Never apologize for your faith.
9) Never apologize for your own sense of creativity.
10) Never apologize for ordering dessert.
11) Never apologize for being funny.
12) Never apologize for living your truth.

.
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109 comments:

  1. Very nice, Willow. No need to apologize when no sin was committed.

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  2. I agree with everything you say, and I am not at all sorry to say that. And what is more, I like your background colour

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  3. And never apologize for never apologizing!

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  4. Amen! (Sorry. I did apologize today, didn't I? Sorry. Hee hee.)

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  5. I need to take that advice more often, I think. Especially lately...

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  6. I usually rationalize not apologizing. As Woody Allen would say, you can go a week without sex, but try going a week without a good rationalization.

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  7. These are my new twelve commandments.

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  8. Insightful, Willow! BTW... your background is both tasteful and soothing. I always enjoy visiting! Your blog is a feast for the eyes.

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  9. Good advice...in essence...never apologize for being who you are. Your list reminds me that everyone is not always going to "get" what we are or what we do. But that's ok : )

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  10. I love the strength behind this post, the strength in following your gut and favorite color and passion! Bravo!

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  11. Wise words, Willow. (Incidentally, the way I see it is--it's your blog--make it what you're comfortable with!) There were some great magpie tales out there today, too! Congrats.

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  12. Bravo! Dr. M is a famous apologizer - in fact sometimes we have a good laugh because he's not really sure WHY he's sorry. I'm going to share this with him.

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  13. Agree with you completely, but #10 made me laugh.

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  14. A wonderful thing to have a husband who wants the best for you and will actually quote Julia Child in your face to prove it!

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  15. A very wise post...I am going read this over a few more times.

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  16. great post willow. i like your list of un-apologizables...figure i pretty much agree with all of them.

    thanks for hosting an amazing first week of magpie as well.

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  17. Well said!

    xox,
    Susan

    p.s. I did virtually the same thing with my blog.

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  18. Great post Willow. I'm glad you can see where your "inclination to apologise" comes from.

    Love the list. And the background colour.

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  19. Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about that. I'm quick to apologize for stuff that doesn't matter to me -- probably my Southern lady upbringing -- a bit of duplicity, at times.

    Interesting.

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  20. W - definitely one or your better postings.

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  21. other than apologizing when I shouldn't, I also can't seem to say no. I always considered it my catholic guilt coming out. I take on way too much responsibility and then I end up doing no one any good. Luckily hubs is usually around to tell me its okay to say no, but not all the time...
    ps- I love your colors =)

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  22. Amen woman!!! Your blog is beautiful and so are you!!

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  23. Willow I think you apologize only when you hurt someone purposely. Someone's complaint is not a purpose hurt. I know exactly what you are saying. I am a nurse, guess what most nurses are co-dependent. How do you change the color? I would love a nice beige color for mine.
    QMM

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  24. My brother (a therapist) is always reminding of that and also that I don't have to explain myself either.

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  25. Beautiful and wise words Willow. I have the same problem with apologizing before I think through what I'm apologizing for. I think I shall carry your list around with me for awhile as a reminder not to apologize for being me.

    I love your background color. I find it very easy to read your pages and find it soothing to visit.

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  26. and, if you're a small business owner:

    #13 Never apologize for your prices!

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  27. I agree to never apologize for a creative decision. You and only you can decide. Obviously we all love you for being you!

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  28. You and I are sometimes very much alike.
    Thank you for an inspiring post. I apologized this week on my blog for thinking something juvenile was funny. How lame was that?

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  29. Thanks for a great post. LadyCat expresses my thoughts exactly. And I'm now old enough to not care if someone doesn't "get" me.

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  30. Hooray for never apologizing for creative choices!! I have your back!
    Mary Ann

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  31. I think the background color is fine and I don't have any trouble reading on it.
    No apologies needed.
    Cindee

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  32. Hello Willow,

    I would change one word - command instead of demand - in regard to respect.

    Best,

    David
    http://www.globalaroundtown.blogspot.com

    PS - It started to snow here again and in order to entice some of my friends over, I made a Bison Chili. Let's just say it went over pretty well!

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  33. Command respect. Yes, I like that, David.

    Mmm, bison chili sounds perfect for this snowy weather. We've got about 2 solid feet of the white stuff now. I've NEVer seen this much snow here, ever!

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  34. But, but...

    I'm sorry!

    Er... wait a sec...

    How about: never apologize for not apologizing? ;)

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  35. Willow, This post really resonated with me - I think we have a bit in common! And I love that your husband calls you on what is "normal" for some of us - my husband does the same for me, and I'm so incredibly grateful for that!

    Thank you for writing this post - it was more timely than you probably know.

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  36. I love this and am with you all the way. Good on you! I love your classy background colour! xa

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  37. Twelve "commandments" I need to commit to memory. Thank you.

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  38. Someone once told me, "No one can undermine your self-belief, without your permission." I've never forgotten it.

    I like you background colour and all that appears against it.

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  39. I think I may need to take your list on board.

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  40. So true...BTW, the background colour (and the header) looks wonderful and I love it the best of all, xv.

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  41. Words to live by ... and I won't apologize for being so brief!

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  42. I like the list. Now I'll have to check myself!

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  43. Excellent list! My husband would love it--he often feels that people expect him to apologize for silly things that are actually reflective of their own insecurities.

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  44. Willow

    You were being to polite young lady..

    It is your blog- do as you please and please yourself.

    On a side note. . . I was having technically challenged when I tried to link up with Mr Winky? for Tuesday's Magpie -- I did it but not sure if it worked at all?

    Joanny
    the dowsers daughter

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  45. Willow,
    I love your list. Now if I can just stop feeling guilty for not keeping everybody else happy I'll be OK.

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  46. Never apologise unless you mean it. Too many people fire off an, “I’m sorry,” because it’s a quick and easy response, a kneejerk reaction. To adopt a credo like “Never apologise” is just another kneejerk reaction. Just imagine instead of saying, “I’m sorry,” you said, “I’m not sorry,” with the same ease and lack of thought, just tripping it out Rain-Man-fashion.

    Of course I know you’re not saying never apologise, you’re saying never to apologise for being yourself; quite a different thing. I’m much like you. I avoid confrontation at all costs and will invariably be the first to back down. The fact is that we can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be someone who feels we have something to apologise for. I wish there wasn’t. If I have a credo it’s, “I won’t carry a donkey for anyone.” You know the fable about the two men going to market with a donkey and everyone they pass has a different opinion as to how the beast should be transported and in the end they end up with the animal slung over a pole and they are the ones carrying it.

    Being considerate is not a bad thing. People can take advantage of us. And often do. It can also hinder our development because you cannot consider everyone. Personally I’m not sure that pleasing yourself when it comes to the layout of a blog should necessarily be at the top of your list because you want to be read. I would think that need would supersede any aesthetic preferences if you found out that the majority of your readers were struggling. Other people aren’t always wrong. For the record I can read your blog just fine. I do struggle with white writing most of the time. Maybe if your background was black I’d have more of a problem. Font size, another thing I have difficulty with, I can change easily but not colour and I have in the past cut text and pasted it into Word to read.

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  47. Here! Here Willow!
    Good for you!

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  48. 10) Never apologize for ordering a dessert.... or two. -J

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  49. ps...I love taupe... taupe-ish is good! -J

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  50. People who have the gall to criticize the colors of your blog are like people who criticize your clothes in person--they're just rude. (Yes, I did have the same thing happen to me as well!)

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  51. Willow, I love your background color. In fact, I think I'll steal it to paint my living room walls. Do you think I could scrape a sample off the computer screen? :)

    Great list! I concur completely!

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  52. I would say that personally I welcome objective criticism. I know that different computers and different browsers render subtle differences in contrast between background and text and the last thing I would want is for any potential reader to struggle to read my pearls of wisdom (not that I have cast many lately).

    So there is no need to apologise for making some readers feel optically uncomfortable but I do think there is every need to respond to objective comment. Of course it doesn't matter a jot if you don't care about your readers and are writing solely for your personal gratification.

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  53. I have known too many people who adopt the credo never apologise for anything.It takes a decent person to admit fault and apologise.I intend to apologise for everything I want to...I like compassionate sincere sensitive Librans...Don't change anything Willow!

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  54. Yes, I fall into this trap as well, saying "I'm sorry". Well I am always 'sore' but rarely, truly sorry. I am in pain not for what I do but for what life throws at ME! There is either the submissive "I'm sorry" or the true sorry of having actually made an error which may effect negatively another. Also, there is the "apologetic Christian" an actual denomination. Maybe I should have joined that school, but since I am no longer going to apologize for trivial "living" I think not at this time unless I feel the meally, submissive me urging to come out of my self-imposed "cubbie of no regrets". Thanks for the "shut up and dont apologize" diatribe. I need this and I am not sorry anymore, unless..." :)

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  55. Melody Beatty changed my life, too. Codependence is a confusing concept to most people. My daughter, who has more than a few codependent issues of her own, insisted for years that there is no such thing. However, she can identify it in me every time. I like people who are in the program. They are usually wise and compassionate. You are both.

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  56. I'm also a Libra so I appreciate the point of view--well stated. I also relate to your experience with radical fundamentalism. I cheer for your conclusions. The content and creativity of your posts are amazing so the background seems like a personal choice--whatever floats your boat.

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  57. I knew there'd be lots of delicious discussion on this one, so keep those cards and letters comin'!

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  58. Absolutely.

    hmmm...who knew she had the same belief system as my own.

    love xx

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  59. thanks for the stimulating and inspiring post!

    fantastic list.

    i caught myself the other day apologizing for something totally ludicrous and then tried to get out of apologizing- which ended up being doubly ludicrous. for me my lesson learned is to think before saying 'i'm sorry'

    as with all things in life, there are times when an apology is just the 'salve' needed- but, as with folks that over apologize, there are people who never apologize....

    hmmm we are a complex species are we not!

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  60. You are an amazing lady, Willow, and I'm learning from you every day!! Sending you hugs.....

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  61. I like #6; amongst all the others, it's one of the most important.

    Having said that, I'm with Jim M. on page color. If you had a number of well-meaning complaints about ease of reading, I'd reconsider the color. If it was just an off-hand comment by say, someone who hates brown, then you could just smile and redirect the reader to the door ;)

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  62. Excellent post. I have tended to be an apologizing nutcase for much of my life but a friend once implored me not to apologize so much so i looked seriously at what i was doing. I dont think I can embrace never apologizing though. Sometimes I feel I am rude and have offended. On the other hand, my policy now is to wait for the other person to tell me I have offended them, then I apologize rather than reading in to what they might or might not feel.

    Yes, your background definitely is your choice. I like it and frankly didnt even notice it until you mentioned this.

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  63. On a light note, I have to throw in the image of a codependent volley ball game. Can't you hear it? "Sorry." "Excuse me." "oh, sorry. It was your turn."

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  64. Great post Willow! You speak very wisely.

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  65. I think it's okay to say something like, "Im sorry you feel that way", if someone does not like your blog color, but if you are in deep like with the color then don't change it and don't apologize. They can always go read someone else's blog. It's their issue, not yours.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

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  66. Just for the record here, peeps, I am not advocating to never apologize.

    If you've seen the movie, Julie & Julia, there is a hilarious scene where Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child, says, "NEVer apologize!" Hence, the title of this post.

    There are, however, as I stated in my post, times when it is very necessary to apologize.

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  67. Bonjour ... and I'll add to your list " never apologize for speaking your truth". One I particularly struggle with "only" in relationships that are important to me. Afraid I guess that if I speak my truth to "them" they won't love me anymore. Rock On dear Willow ! Rock On !

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  68. Seems to me willow that you have found the perfect way in which to counteract your feelings when they arise.

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  69. i've noticed i refrain from apolizing, and wait when i'm concerned, usually finding that there wasn't a need in the first place.
    is that apolozing without apologizing?
    love julia, like so many, and will check myself out...and NEVER APOLOGIZE for all those times on your list! like passion, truth, humor! all good things!

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  70. A chuckle for #10..I'm sure you'd have Julia on your side..a very influential "different drummer"!
    Able to read everything on your background..will follow even if you change to pouty pink!

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  71. That is a list that should be carved in stone!

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  72. ...and as I always like to say...it is what it is...(in my Julia voice)!

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  73. Oh, I really like this posr. Especially after today's argue with my brother...In the end I began to blame myself and was going to apologize...
    But after reading your post and thinking it over, I understood That I don't have to apologize, because it i NOT my fault.
    Thank you a lot

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  74. Too right willow!! I love your colours, your blog and everything!!!

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  75. Oh dear Willow. I'm sorry to know about your toxic childhood. I had one, too. Can't deal with confrontation at all; always willing to take the blame; low self-esteem. Very familiar.

    Love your list!

    Since I saw Julie & Julia I've been trying to not apologize when I cook. My partner has said this drives her crazy. I'll make something and then apologize for it while I serve it up.

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  76. I don't know that being quick to apologize is something unique to coming from a radical fundamentalist background. What I wonder, too, is what leads others to be the first to criticize which, in turn, leads to others feeling the need to apologize?

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  77. Oh, Willow!
    You always make me thinking… That is what I like the best in your blog!!!
    Be yourself forever!!!
    Virginia

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  78. This is great... you have with this post helped so many be proud of who they are... me included!
    :) The Bach

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  79. I chanced upon your blog, and I am so glad I subscribed. I had to comment today, because your reference to having a fundamentalist background reminded me so much of myself. Strangely, I thought I was the only one. Thank you for your open honesty. Oh, I love the background color.

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  80. Junk Thief, ultra fundamentalism often uses guilt, fear, intimidation, and harsh discipline for purposes of control. Believe me, this kind of atmosphere can lead to deep feelings of unworthiness.

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  81. Willow--Let me try this again. I am having trouble getting any of my comments to post for some reason. I think that you have a wonderful site, otherwise you wouldn't have so many followers. I am like you: always trying to please, not feeling good enough, second-guessing myself in order to please others. In the end, it's all about what makes us happy. You and I need to bolster each other up and realize that we are worthy and that what we have to say matters (if not to others, then at least to ourselves!)

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  82. I'm with you, Willow - although my own personal mantra is "no guilt".

    My own fundamentalist-steeped childhood served several purposes, one of which was to make me realize how much I hate the way people use guilt to make other people cave to their agenda.

    And so, in line with your "no apologies" rule, I have a "no guilt" rule. I do what I think is right at the time, and if I change my mind later, I do something else. I don't live looking backward and guilt-tripping. I don't ask anyone, whether spirit, deity, or human, to forgive me for being myself.

    Rock on, Willow.

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  83. I should have had your list of nevers earlier in my life. They might have saved me some heartache. They certainly would have preserved my self respect. Learning to not apologize and feeling guilty, when I'd done nothing wrong, was a lesson that took me a long time to learn.

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  84. Loved this entry, Willow. Thank you.

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  85. Amen, sister. I recently mulled this subject over & decided to NOT apologize to someone who is utterly cruel. It was so much easier than I thought it would be.

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  86. RIGHT ON! This is your blog and you can do what you damned well wish - and what you wish is always great! LOVE your blog- it's perfect !

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  87. Excellent post! I had to wrestle with this question just today on my blog.

    Apologizing so as to avoid conflict is never a good idea, I admit. I also think apologizing when you're feeling really guilty doesn't really serve any purpose - it just spreads that thick, yucky sticky guilt around to all involved.

    The best apologies are absolutely sincere, and without strings attached. As for my own situation today, I realized the blogger I was writing about is an actual person, not a symbol. I changed the title of my blog and tried to address her directly, something I was unable to do because I couldn't find contact information for her.

    Now I'll let it all go - that's the most important bit of apologizing, the release afterwards. Ahhhh ...

    Good for you Willow. You have nothing to apologize for!!

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  88. I don't have time to read all the comments ., and yes I almost apologized for that,

    this was awesome Willow. It is a huge issue with me.
    Thank you

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  89. your post so resonated with me and it has taken me a long time to get to where I am today...never apologizing unless my heart tells me to...I too once had a woman, a very popular woman tell me she could not read my blog because of the background but I decided she was the one who needed to at least keep her mouth shut and just go away...not nice "sounding" [reading it back to myself here] but it's the truth.

    and I love your blog color!

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  90. This post totally rocks it Willow! You have a wonderful way with words! And nothing to apologize for...your background color is classy, and clearly by the many comments...we're all able to read it just fine! ;D

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  91. I love the background color! :)

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  92. I agree... it is very freeing...

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  93. Apologize? I do not know what the word means!

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  94. Wonderful and wise list to live by, beautiful friend!

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  95. Willow, it's so funny you posted that. I have wondered for years what Henry Ford II meant when he said, "never apologize, never explain." I have thought of it often: at what times would it be appropriate or not...in what ways. I think many of us are messed up from our childhoods, but what can we do? And, I love your brownish background. It is warm.

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  96. What a fabulous post! I sometimes feel pressured to apologize for my passions or gut instincts (and saucy combacks when irritated) but you make me smile with this confidence boosting post.
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
    Happy Chinese New Year giveaway

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  97. My MIL apologizes for apologizing...
    I love your philosophy! And I'm sorry... but I LOVE Your background color! Reminds me of chocolate!

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  98. Had to have a recent Mother/Son heart to heart with Son #4 about this same thing. He's got into the habit of including the Sorry word in almost all his sentences. Not like him at all my Braveheart boy. He had no idea it had crept into his vocab. so insidiously, & is now determined to banish it quick smart. Lovely post Willow.
    Millie ^_^

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  99. I am new to your blog. I won't, at this time, deal with intros. But I will say this: I had an experience about a month ago where a blogger thought I offended her. Some people can become too sensitive over the net. I have not, nor will I ever, aplogize to her because I read somewhere that you have to be tough-skinned when dealing with people over the net. That is absolutely the truth. You are not going to please everybody. Someone hurt my feelings before, too. And I stopped blogging for almost two years. But I'v learned that everyone is not going to like what you say. I say to those people, "GET OVER YOURSELF."

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  100. Wow! Willow, for most of my life I've apologized for everything you listed in your 12 and more ~ then I turned 40 and stopped apologizing. Guess I grew up and learned to love myself. I won't apologize for that ;-)

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  101. Great list. And great blog background color. I'm partial to browns : )

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  102. Goodness Gracious Me! I think this is possibly the longest lists of responses I've ever added to! You deserve all the credit, you have a wonderful spirit.

    Great insight and writing. Included you in my 'Posts Of The Week.'

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  103. I'm with you on all 12 counts. BTW, congrats on the Goddess Award!

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  104. A very worthy list.
    I have a feeling that I'm not the only person who felt like this post was speaking directly to me.

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  105. This is a very inspirational post for me. Thank you for sharing your insights and beliefs. I see myself in your description. Although for the most part, people I deal with daily do not say "sorry" enough, i.e. do not take responsibility for their actions. But, sometimes the most worthy diminish themselves with their sorries.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)