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No Woman Should Apologize for These 8 Things Anymore

No Woman Should Apologize for These 8 Things Anymore

To be fair, no woman should have to apologize for a damn thing. Of course, as women, we all have those things we continually feel we should apologize for in our daily lives: speaking our minds, reading trashy novels…maybe watching the Twilight movies.

However, there are some big picture things we continuously apologize for that we shouldn’t have to apologize for at all. Ever. Again.

Our lifestyle choices

Some of us want kids. Some of us don’t. We shouldn’t have to apologize for choosing one or the other. Or for changing our minds about it. And there are those of us who choose to be single and still find ourselves apologizing to people for that choice. Why? It’s our choice.

What about our living arrangements? I own my house and live by myself. “Don’t you want a roommate?”  Nope. Not sorry. “You’re single, and you live with a guy who’s not your boyfriend?”  Yep. Not sorry.

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Whatever lifestyle choices you make, from your diet to your friends, never apologize for them.

Career choices

We shouldn’t have to apologize for our career choices. We can choose a career in a male-dominated field like law enforcement and swell the ranks of women police officers in the country. Or we can choose the career of stay-at-home mother. And if you think being a stay-at-home mother isn’t a full-time job, maybe you should be apologizing. It’s not a regular full-time job, but it will keep you busy as hell.

No more apologizing for asking for promotions or raises, either. If we’ve done the work, we deserve them. Ask for them with confidence. No sorries necessary.

Swearing

Oh, bloody hell. Just did it again. It’s long been argued that swearing is the sign of a weak mind. This ex-English teacher (who never swore in the classroom — I swear!) disagrees. Words obviously have power, but if you’re not swearing at someone, go for it, and don’t you dare apologize for it!

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The British Psychological Society conducted a study regarding swearing. It found that groups who used swear words during stressful situations were able to cope better than groups who were not. That’s right: Swearing is good for you!

Swear away, and never say you’re sorry after you do so!

Liking “guy” things

I like the classical “guy” things. Cars, sports, beer . . . I owned a 1971 Chevy Chevelle in high school and can talk about my favorite muscle cars for days. I once put a guy in his place at a bar when he mistook a Lotus Exige for a Lotus Elise. Wrong car, dude. I apologized for it. I shouldn’t have. Will I ever apologize for my car knowledge again? Hell no (not sorry!).

I will never (again) apologize for knowing about baseball or hockey or soccer or any other sport I love. Sports are becoming less and less the exclusive territory of “the guy,” but society still feels the need to compel us to apologize for liking sports, wanting to participate in them, or wanting to have any part of the world.  I’m still not apologizing for knowing about and loving sports!

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Liking “girly” things

On the other side of the “guy” coin are the “girly” things. I like beer or whiskey and an occasional cigar with said whiskey. But I also like wearing a skirt and my four-inch booties while I drink my booze and smoke my cigar. And I’m no longer apologizing for it.

I’m also not apologizing for being tall and wearing my high heels. If I tower over you, so be it. If I look you in the eye, deal with it. Don’t apologize for wanting to be feminine. And don’t apologize for not being feminine.

Saying no

Don’t apologize for saying no. To anything. Don’t apologize for saying no when someone asks for your number and you don’t want to give it to them. You don’t have to explain why. A simple: “No thanks,” or, “I’d rather not,” should suffice. Hopefully, the person asking will have enough tact to back off.

Don’t apologize if you want to stay home for a night in with a bottle of wine, your dog, and an NCIS binge. You don’t always have to hang out in the bar with your friends. Or go to the party with all your married friends. It’s okay to say no without saying you’re sorry. I’ve done it. I love going out or hanging out with my friends and their families. But sometimes, I need alone time, and I won’t apologize for it.

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Our sexuality

Don’t apologize for your sexuality, whatever that may be. And don’t apologize for expressing it. If you like sex, stop worrying that you will be stigmatized for your desires. If you don’t like it, the same can be said. Women’s sexuality can be affected by the expectations we set regarding it, and when we apologize for it, we are setting the expectation that we can’t be sensual or sexual beings.

Anything and everything!

Like I said at the beginning, just stop apologizing. Women seem to apologize for everything. We apologize for being in someone’s way at the grocery store. We apologize for expressing opinions to each other!  Stop it!  We certainly shouldn’t be apologizing to each other!  Women need to stand together and say, “I will no longer apologize for making a choice and having an opinion!”

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H. E. James

Writer and researcher

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

How to Be a Good Listener (And a Better Communicator)

How to Be a Good Listener (And a Better Communicator)

Listening skills aren’t easy for a lot of us, especially during a global pandemic when we’re especially stressed and easily distracted. The art of communication is more than just talking; it requires listening and paying attention. You have to learn how to be a good listener, as most of us aren’t born with it.

Every relationship you have needs communication to survive, and that takes work. The good news is that it’s not hard to learn how to be a good listener. In fact, if you’re someone who feels like you could use a brushing up on your communication skills, here are a few pointers that you can start using right away to help you have more meaningful connections in all of your relationships.

1. Validate Feelings

Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re overreacting or to stop crying during a conversation? I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard that at one point in our lives. The thing is, it doesn’t feel good to be dismissed by someone you care about, especially in times of heightened stress or intense discussion.

Feelings matter, regardless if you agree with them or not. One of the greatest things you can do for someone is to validate their feelings when you’re learning how to be a good listener. Tell them that you hear them and that you acknowledge how they feel[1]. When you do that, you’re creating a relatability element by showing you understand the other person’s feelings.

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When you can be more relatable to someone you care about, it raises the level of trust in your relationship. Back in March, when the pandemic started, my eight-year-old son was struggling with virtual learning away from his friends and school that he loved so much. There was no closure for him, and it was apparent in the way he approached is day as he refused to acknowledge school because it wasn’t physically in his classroom.

Most days included a breakdown of some kind, which was very stressful for all of us. One day he was laying on our living room couch, crying about how awful the situation was for him. “I want to go to school and see my friends. I miss my teacher. This is the worst thing ever,” he sobbed. As I watched him in that moment, I realized I had two choices: I could tell him to stop it, suck it up, and go to school, or I could get in it with him and help him understand that I, too, was experiencing the exact same feelings.

I decided to sit with him and take him in my arms, hug him, and tell him I felt the same way. That I wanted him to be in school with his friends, that I wanted him to be able to go to soccer practice and have fun, that I missed my friends, too, and that yes, you’re right, this is the worst.

Once I did that, something shifted. He looked at me with the realization that I did understand what he was going through because I had a similar experience. Demonstrating relatability, validating his feelings, and being a good listener to his needs helped us have a breakthrough in our communication.

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2. Be Present

Distraction is all around us. With lots of information being thrown at us at a million miles an hour, it’s no wonder communication in relationships can suffer. When you are in a discussion with someone you truly care about, whether it’s your life partner, a good friend, or you child, make sure you are free of distraction during your conversation.

Having little to no distraction allows you to be a better listener. It allows you to focus on the conversation and really digest the discussion. Furthermore, it helps in allowing you to be thoughtful and considerate in your interaction.

I find that my most successful conversations[2] happen on neutral ground. It helps to reduce stress and remove judgement from the interaction. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been on walks, while driving in the car, or even laying in bed with the lights off. I can be fully present and engaged with the ability to absorb the conversation at hand, especially when the conversation is about a sensitive subject.

It’s hard to have an uncomfortable conversation sitting across a table or not in your own territory. It can make it feel more like an interrogation and can often start with apprehension or having your guard up. When you do your best to eliminate that from the situation, you’re offering a desire to find a solution by creating a safe space to listen and communicate more successfully.

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We tend to expose ourselves and our feelings easier when we feel like we’re not being judged. When my husband and I need to have a hard conversation, we often go for a walk or have a conversation in the middle of the night in the dark. The absence of distraction allows us to truly listen to each other’s needs and desires and creates a stronger bond of respect and intimacy.

3. Respond

As you’re trying to learn how to be a good listener, respond, don’t react. How many times have you regretted the way you reacted to a conversation with someone you care about? Whether it’s a personal or professional relationship, the way you reply is important.

Because we’re human and it’s only natural to get defensive, especially if the communication is not something we agree with, we typically react without giving consideration to the big picture. That isn’t helpful when you’re trying to make progress in a situation.

You may be thinking, how does listening come into play when you’re replying to someone else’s engagement with you? It doesn’t matter if you’re having that conversation via text, email, or in person; the way you absorb the information is going to directly affect the way you have your interactive dialogue.

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Think about a time when you’ve been at work and received an email from a co-worker that triggered you[3]. It’s happened to all of us. A lot of times, we hit the reply button and go to town unloading our feelings and thoughts without taking the time to fully digest and consider the content in front of us. We’re not “listening” to what our peer is requesting.

Handling delicate situations can be tricky. That’s why I like to advise my clients to respond rather than react, and start with the end in mind. When you’re faced with a challenging situation, think about how you want that particular experience to be resolved. Do you want to be able to walk away with a hug, an agreement, and a positive outcome? If so, the way you do that is by being a good listener and planning your response.

Final Thoughts

Communication in any relationship, personal or professional is hard. We have to be committed to showing up and doing the work to make sure they are successful and thriving. Learning how to be a good listener plays a huge part in the success of each and every one.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you need to pay attention, remember to validate, be present, and respond with thoughtful consideration. You’ll be amazed at how much your interactions improve.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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