” It’s Time for Women to Stop Apologizing”
“Girl, Stop Apologizing”
“Women, We Need to Stop Apologizing”
A 30-second google search yielded a Rolodex of article and book titles just like these, all seemingly telling women to “take the power back, stop apologizing.” As if our ability to be powerful women rests firmly on omitting two tiny words—two words that have ironically brought my walk with Christ, life, marriage, career and friendships the most freedom and power.
The fervor in which my social media and news feeds are telling me to stop using I’m sorry is worrying and as someone that has journeyed this path already, I’m telling you it will lead to a vacant land plump with hostility, pride and cat ladies. I too felt at my core that I’m sorry stripped me of power, making me look inferior in my professional pursuits and like a pushover in my relationships, namely that of my marriage. Needless to say, my relationships—both professionally and personally—began to deteriorate rapidly as no relationship, no journey, no community can remain healthy so long as each individual is unable to confess their shortcomings, errors and ways in which their actions have hurt those around them. Effectively, by refusing to say I’m sorry I was inadvertently stripping not only myself of power, but the power of free bi-relational flow that God intended. A flow built on honor and unity which can only be protected and real when repentance, the very ability to say I’m sorry, is part of the equation.
While I understand and agree with the reality that some of us as women overuse the I’m sorry response in our personal and professional lives out of a sense of inadequacy, shame, pressure or intimidation, I fear that as a society we are going after the symptom instead of the root.
By demonizing the beautiful, humble, guileless words of I’m sorry we are belittling the power of one’s healthy ability to take ownership of spilled paint. By making these words illegal in the modern woman’s vocabulary we are in effect giving up one of our greatest strengths as women, the ability to set pride aside and own our sh**. After all, isn’t that what we are asking biased abusive men within our society to be able to do—to be able to own their wrongdoings and say I’m sorry?
Need I remind us all that many scholars believe that the first World War could have been completely avoided had a handful of powerful men simply been humble enough to say I’m sorry.
How then can we, champions for gender equality, ask one gender to catch-up and learn the stunning merits of contrite heartfelt ownership, while we in-turn drop it from our arsenal as a voodoo tactic that has held us back? I’m sorry, but I’m sorry has not held us back. It’s full of too much power when used in purity and for the right reasons. Need I remind us all that many scholars believe that the first World War could have been completely avoided had a handful of powerful men simply been humble enough to say I’m sorry.
Instead of banishing I’m sorry as the evil gnome, let us first explore a higher way. Let us not kill the two most beautiful words outside of I love you simply because we as women yearn and fight for what should already be, equality. By telling a woman to “take the power back, break-up with I’m sorry” we are actually telling her that instead of pursuing a healthy sense of amazing self, devoid of what other people think of her or do to her, that she should simply omit the words I’m sorry and from there what? Unity comes? Gender-equality comes? The world is suddenly righted?
No, not remotely. Only further division and societal brokenness can come from that. If my journey has taught me anything, it’s that nothing outside of me can change the truth about what’s inside of me. Either I believe I’m equal, worthy and purposed or I don’t. I’m sorry can’t change that. Only I can allow that growth to be formed in me. But I’m sorry? Now that moves the needle towards a society that truly does honor each other as equal, valuable and worthwhile.
Don’t break-up with I’m sorry. Instead, give it power.