THE BLOG
02/01/2016 01:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

On Saying Sorry

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"Sorry! Thanks."

"Ugh, I'm sorry."

"Oh, I'm so sorry!"

Um, I am?

The sorries slip out so easily. A case of Ms. Manners' word vomit at it finest.

Now, I was raised to be considerate and careful. Aware of other people's feelings and mindful of not inconveniencing anyone. As an adult, that's served me well at times in my profession as a consultant, but also seems to have morphed into an apologetic manifesto. Sort of how some people sprinkle their day to day vocabulary with junk words of the "like" or "um" variety. Rather, in the tail-end of my twenties, "sorry" has become my junk word of choice.

And I don't think I'm alone.

In a sea of #girlbosses all intently leaning in, we still can't seem to out-swim the never-ending apology.

Don't get me wrong - these are strong women, in this sea. I'm talking about the gals who are driven and passionate. Women who are getting things done. We're belting out Adele's greatest hits (...just me?) and seeking a life lived authentically. Creative and brave, honest and intentional.

But the sorries!

They're always there. So quick to scatter and nearly impossible to erase later.

Because, for the most part, many of us - strong and empowered as we may be - are also polite to a fault. We work hard and try to be kind, and yet are often so quick to apologize. So careful to not step on other people's toes on our rise to the top..... or while doing our groceries, or doing someone else a favor.

At this point, it's almost like "sorry" means nothing. Heck, I'm not entirely convinced we actually are sorry. At least in most cases.

I'm not talking about the times when you've actually done something worth apologizing for, like spilling coffee on the floor or saying something nasty to a friend. That's not what this is about. It's the struggle we seem to have with tacking on a "sorry" at the end of a sentence, detached from all meaning.

Why do we let that five letter word come spilling out of our mouthes at all?

"Sorry" does not mean please. "Sorry" does not mean "thank you." "Sorry" does not grant permission. Nor should it.

This isn't due to some gender battle to crack a glass ceiling, or simply an archaic result of past interactions within a patriarchy. I'm as ra-ra girl power as the next 20-something female these days, but really - I don't believe that's the problem. Not at all. Just the intricacies of everyday life, and maybe a subconscious attachment to roles and expectations that we don't even realize are haunting us. Like our goal crushing or individual priorities are cause enough for an apology, heaven forbid we may teeter near the possibility of inconveniencing someone else.

In case you'd scrolled down to the bottom of this essay thinking maybe I had a solution for you....... spoiler alert - I don't. Other than pausing before allowing another "sorry" to roll off your tongue without any emotion attached.

It's okay to not apologize for every mistake you make. I'm not saying you should become a ruthless grinch on your way to reaching your dreams or living out your daily life, but it's okay to not actually BE sorry for all the things. And you know what? Sometimes it's okay to potentially inconvenience someone else, if it means being true to yourself and your heart. You can choose yourself, and you can choose how unapologetic you are for it.

Sorry I'm not sorry.