Although it’s a good habit to reflect on your behavior and apologize when needed, there are specific things you should never have to apologize for. It shows maturity and emotional health to be able to say you’re sorry. However, if you’re saying you’re sorry for things you shouldn’t, you’re not taking care of yourself.
Here are a few things you should never apologize for when taking care of yourself. If you find yourself apologizing for these things, take some time to ask yourself why.
1. Your Feelings. Feelings are real and live inside of us even if we don’t acknowledge them. Everyone can feel differently about the same situation and it doesn’t mean anyone’s feelings are wrong. Don’t apologize if your feelings aren’t what others expect them to be. They’re yours and you have the right to feel them and to express them. Sometimes people question their feelings because others have a difficult time accepting them. Hold tight to what you feel! The feelings don’t always feel good but they’re real and you’re entitled to have them.
2. Saying No. We all have limits. Many of us, however, don’t recognize our limits until we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or we get sick. We all have emotional limits, physical limits, and time limits. In order to take care of yourself, you need to know your limits and set boundaries. Saying ‘No’ isn’t something to be sorry about. Saying ‘No’ is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. If someone else gets upset when you say ‘No’ then maybe it’s time to reevaluate the relationship.
3. Telling the Truth. Telling the truth can be tricky. While there are times when you may want to avoid the truth (you’re friend’s outfit is hideous although she loves it), you have a right to express the truth just like everyone else. There are two things to consider when telling the truth; 1) Am I taking care of myself by telling the truth and, 2) Is there a reason to share the truth with someone especially if they may be hurt by it. You come first! If telling the truth takes care of you then you have do it. Sometimes the truth may not go over well with someone else but they’ll typically get over it. If others cannot accept your honesty then it’s time to share with someone else.
4. Asking for your Needs to be Met. We all have basic needs (food, clothing, shelter etc). Beyond the needs for survival, however, we have many other needs. Some have needs to be listened to. Others have needs for affection. Again, others need sexual fulfillment. Whatever your needs may be, keep in mind they are real and you have a right to ask for them to be met. We often believe everyone has the same needs. So, we believe that having to ask for them to be met shouldn’t be necessary. Wrong! No one can read your mind. Take care of yourself. Even if no one understands why you need what you do, don’t apologize. Just ask!
5. Self Care. For most of us finding time to take care of ourselves is difficult. Career, kids, aging parents, and 100 more things appear to always come first. Yes, we have plenty to do. But what if we get sick and cannot take care of everyone and everything else? Guess what…life goes on without us. Taking care of yourself is actually a form of taking care of everyone else. If you’re not well (physically, emotionally etc), you can’t take care of anyone else. When you can see it from that perspective, there is no apology necessary for doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.
6. Letting Go. There is no reason to apologize for letting go of people, feelings and, situations which negatively affect you. Keeping ahold of worries, toxic people and stressful situations can be harmful to you both emotionally and physically. There is no reason to hold onto the negativity you suffer when you hold onto something unhealthy for you. There is also no reason to feel the need to apologize for letting go of that which negatively affects you. If you find yourself apologizing, then perhaps the person you’re apologizing to doesn’t care about you the way they should.
Reflect on the list above for a moment and acknowledge which of the items you are apologizing for. Be aware that if you’re apologizing for any of them, you are thinking about someone else before taking care of yourself. If you’re taking care of someone else, who is taking care of you?
Be good to yourself! Don’t sacrifice yourself by denying yourself the rights others exercise freely. You’re important too!