Being unapologetic is liberating; it’s time to learn how to embrace it.
In 2019, some staggering research was published claiming that the average woman apologised more than 295,650 times in her life, a whopping 25% more than the average man.
It’s not surprising. Most of us were brought up and encouraged to be demure, modest and humble about ourselves, centring the feelings and needs of others above our own. But sadly, that’s rarely the path to an authentic and fulfilled life.
“Choosing to not apologise for our priorities isn’t about being a selfish jerk. It’s about being in tune with what we need so we can show up to life in a way that respects ourselves and the people we care about most,” wrote therapist Amber Elizabeth Smith in a recent Instagram post on the subject.
Instead, Smith highlights the things that all people – but particularly women – should stop apologising for, from prioritising your health and investing in your financial future to having limits and boundaries.
I’ve always been the kind of person who apologises first, even when I don’t think I’m in the wrong. I’ve apologised for how much I talk, not talking enough, for looking overdressed or not dressed up enough. Frankly, it’s exhausting.
However, there are some things that I don’t – and won’t – ever apologise for. One of the most recent, and perhaps controversial, is my habit of unfollowing people.
Over the years, it’s become a bit of a sore point with distant acquaintances, old colleagues or people I met once on holiday, but as someone who is overwhelmed easily and likes to keep my timeline as positive and affirming as possible, it’s often necessary.
It doesn’t mean I’d ignore them in the street or have dramatically cut them from my life, it’s about setting a boundary with who I want to see and who I want to be seen by. And I’m not the only one.
“I’ve decided to stop apologising for saying no to an invitation,” Stylist’s digital editor Jazmin tells me. “I’m NOTORIOUSLY bad for it and will go out of my way to go to people’s birthdays/housewarmings/dinners to show up for them, but in the process, quite often I’m not looking after myself.”
“I’ve had to realise that declining an invite so that I can rest/read that book/watch that show/do nothing simply because I want or need to is absolutely OK, and I don’t need to be sorry for prioritising my needs over something that might sound nice but doesn’t align with where I’m at.”
“2022 is the year I stopped apologising for saying no to things, just because I didn’t want to disappoint others,” agrees freelance social media editor Ellie Edwards.
“I’ve always been a people-pleaser, but over the past 12 months, I’ve realised the importance of putting yourself first. It can be as simple as saying no to a dinner invitation so I can spend time going for an evening swim, but it’s a rule I’ll be sticking to.”
“I’m no longer apologising for cancelling plans after agreeing to them. While it’s not something I often do, the rare times I do decide to back out of plans are filled with guilt,” shares senior digital writer Leah.
“But the reality is, life happens and sometimes you may not be in the mood or headspace to do something that was arranged last week. Being a chronic canceller is never anything I’d aspire to be, but having those rare occasions when I take time for myself shouldn’t be something I feel super guilty about – and now, I refuse to.”