THE BLOG

Apology Not Accepted

03/05/2015 02:36 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2015

I love my work as a coach but I have to be honest....

I'm getting angry.

This morning I received an email from a student, apologizing for the way she came across in our last class.

Her take: she was indecisive and unfocused. My take: she had questions and needed clarification.

Either way, there was no need for an apology.

At first I thought it was a curious thing to say, but the more I think about it, the angrier I get. Not that this woman was indecisive... but that she felt the need to apologize for it.

I'm stewing because as women, we've become a society of apologizers. And it stinks.

We get so fired up, demanding equality -- equal jobs, equal pay, equal representation in business, politics, and religion. Yet you can hardly walk down an aisle in the grocery store without some woman who's navigating her cart in the opposite direction, apologizing. But tell me -- WHAT does she have to be sorry about?

Why do we apologize for walking down a grocery aisle? Are we so unworthy to be taking up space?

In her article "Thoughts on taking up all the space you need," mother-daughter relationship expert Rosjke Hasseldine talks about her experience in Istanbul, where she noticed the disparity between the amount of space women and men filled.

On a cruise down the Bosphorus Strait with a group of people from around the world, Rosjke noticed how the men spread out in the best seats, while the women huddled together in the middle of the boat.

"Taking up space is a huge issue!" Rosjke says. "It makes the difference between present or invisible, heard or silent, powerful or disempowered."

When we show up small, the world fills in the space around us, and holds us to our small shape. I don't know about you, but to me that feels pretty constricting.

We have to stop this nonsensical idea that taking our full space somehow diminishes others. We have to stop apologizing for being who we're here to be. It is in the fullest, untamed expression of who we are that we can live on purpose.

Truth? You can't give your gifts to the world with any sort of impact if you're apologizing for simply showing up.

Now on the flip side, it's almost magical what happens when you step into your bigger self and hold your ground.

When you command your full space, you get to keep it. The world stretches to fit your new, bigger presence, and it feels so much more spacious! There's more room to breathe. You have more options. You get to choose whether to move over and make room for someone else; they no longer decide for you.

So here's what needs to happen....

We need to sit, stand, and walk tall, no matter where we are or who's around us.

We need to hold our space with grace and certainty because in doing so, we give other women permission to own their full space.

And we need to stop apologizing, because it serves no one.

Give it a try, girlfriend. Let me know what happens.