Twenty-seven years into my life, I’ve decide to redefine selfish in my mind. Oxford dictionaries may not be too pleased, but I need some more flexibility. You see, the problem with the using selfish is, as it is currently defined, it doesn’t quite fit what I need. I’m tired of being told “it’s okay to be selfish” knowing society defines selfishness as a disregard for others. Wait a minute – by that definition, I don’t want to be selfish. I just want some balance in my life.
I want to be able to take time for myself without it being called selfish. This construct society has built, which tells us that daring to put ourselves first is selfish, is just not true. Not only is it not true, it’s also something we shouldn’t apologize for.
Over-apologizing is something I’m working on. Some days are better than others, and understanding how to flip my apologies into gratitude has been key. The amount of times I’ve heard a variation of the following is alarming:
Stop apologizing No apology needed Not your fault
If you apologize again I’m actually going to leave you to do this alone
When did I start to feel the need to apologize for bettering myself? Be it declining an invitation for an evening in, showing emotion, taking an extra minute to gather my thoughts or not being able to meet someone else’s needs. More importantly, how can I reduce the feeling of guilt society has instilled in me? When you really think about it, does it make sense that we feel guilty for trying to be a better person?
By over-apologizing I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I know I’m not the only one. There naturally will be times we do need to apologize, but speaking from experience most of my apologizes can be replaced with a thank you. Try starting a phrase with thank you for, rather than sorry for – it’s pretty neat how the connotation changes. Apologizing is exhausting, but thanking someone makes both of you feel good.
It’s okay to take care of yourself – and it is not something to apologize for.