Sunday 20 July 2014

Why This Will Be a Year of Less Apologies

I have always tried to be courteous. 'Please's and 'Thank you's have made a world of difference to me when I go out of my way to do things for other people. I tack 'please' or 'thanks' onto every other sentence because they're nice little extra words. Admittedly, I do the same thing with my apologies. 

The word has lost a lot of the value it used to hold.

I apologize out of habit a lot of the time. I say sorry when I cry and feel like I should keep it to myself, I say sorry after I do something I openly know I shouldn't have, and I say sorry passive aggressively to mean that I should be sorry so I'll say it. I have known people who have said 'sorry' for being gay.

But that's a lot of 'should's and a lot of regulating. 

 An apology is an implication of regret. An 'I'm sorry' means that if I went back in time I would change what I did, and that in the future, I will not do that thing again. I don't mean it a lot of the time, and neither do a lot of people. 'I'm sorry' has instead come to mean, 'I'm sorry you feel upset with me'. It's unfair to ourselves and the people we apologize to. 

That being said, this won't be a year of no apologies. If I've hurt someone accidentally or made a mistake that I deeply wish I hadn't, I will be apologizing as profusely as the Canadian that I am. 

But beyond that....

Yes, you didn't want me to do that thing, but I did it anyway! And no, I'm not even going to give you a begrudging apology that I did it, because maybe I shouldn't have but I would do it again. I respect both of us too much to force out insincerity. 

You, on the other hand, are not going to get me to be sorry for who I am. Not for my emotions, not for my preferences, not for my actions. As long as I am not harming anyone, it's my right to exercise the freedom of self. I will not let myself feel guilty about the space that I take up and neither should you. Bottom line is: I will not apologize for who I am because it makes you uncomfortable. 

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