So many women are aware of the habit of over-apologising. That is, saying sorry for things that simply don’t require us to apologise about.
Sure it seems harmless enough, but when we take the time to investigate, it reveals interesting information about our inner assumptions re. the way we’re expected to behave and how much space we feel entitled to take up in the world.
If you’re aware of this habit in your own life, I’ve an approach for you to experiment with. Rather than saying ‘sorry’ when you notice yourself talking a lot in a conversation or in a meeting, or taking up people’s time as you pack your bags at the supermarket or into the car, consider saying ‘thank you’. Eg; ‘Thank you for your consideration’, ‘Thank you for listening’, ‘Thanks for the space to express myself’, or ‘Thanks for your patience’.
Try it out and notice how differently it feels to be:
(i) apologising for taking up space,
(ii) thanking people for their willingness to gift you space and time.
I’ve found a huge psychological difference between the two. One assumes that people don’t have the time or patience for you. That, at best, they tolerate your existence.
The other assumes what ought to be a basic entitlement of all human beings. That is, to occupy space in the world without apology. To assume that people will give you the space you need to:
- take your time parking the car or manoeuvring your pram through a crowded area, or
- walk the streets without fear or harassment or harm,
- express an idea without interruption.
Systemic inequality teaches us that only some people are entitled to this space and consideration. To counter this, a behavioural change is required.
The most effective social changes tend to have been initiated by marginalised people who refuse to be marginalised anymore. Who choose to take up space. Choose to use their voices. Choose to assume that they deserve the respect and dignity that’s afforded all privileged people.
One way to initiate this transition and get comfortable with taking up more space, is to shift your ‘sorry’ to ‘thank you’.
Try it out and share your experience with us over here.
Then, for a deeper dive into the ways we can create inner and outer shifts around the way you take up space, use your voice and promote your work, check out our short course ‘ Smash the Patriarchal Mindset ‘.
SPECIAL IWD EVENT! For the first time ever I’m hosting an IWD event next week for Smash the Patriarchal Mindset students.
It’s a live healing session focused on clearing out intergenerational trauma caused by patriarchal systems, particularly as it relates to claiming space, using your voice, and influencing change in the world.
To benefit from that work, enrol in Smash the Patriarchal Mindset , where you’ll gain immediate access to the short course and the invitation to join our special IWD event!