Wednesday, October 8, 2014


So Pantene came out with a new commercial this summer that at first made me fist pump in the air like a fool with a resounding, "YES!" Women apologizing for simply existing is something that I've been noticing as a trend for the last year or so. And it breaks my heart.

When I joined a women's small group with SPO, my small group leader (shout out to Leanna) gave us one rule within our meetings that we could not apologize. I caught myself time and time again, apologizing for one menial thing or the next: for arriving too early or too late, for wanting to speak up or not being sure just exactly what it was that I wanted to say. Again and again, the women with who's lives I was sharing mine gave me an encouraging smile and a sweet reminder to not say, "I'm sorry."

Here's the Pantene commercial for you to watch before we go into the next part of this blog post:

Empowering, right? I thought so too until I rewatched it and heard what the women say at the end. Which is a phrase I am so guilty of hashtagging one too many times on Instagram and Twitter: #sorrynotsorry.

That phrase seems to be a solvent for women apologizing, but it's quite the opposite. Instead of its intended purpose of building women up, it just continues this cycle of apologizing over nothing. By saying or tweeting that or whatever, you are APOLOGIZING FOR NOT APOLOGIZING. Wait, what? Yeah, mind blown, kapow! This isn't some clever phrase to break the cycle. If anything, it just fuels the flames feeding into women's need to excuse themselves for having a differing opinion, taking up their own space, and demanding to heard.

Having an opinion, even a differing opinion is a beautiful thing. It sparks dialogue and creates the beautiful, confusing, complicated world we live in. Don't apologize for that. Don't apologize for having your own beliefs. Stand up for them! Own them! Now, does this mean you need to be in someone's face about them? No, no, no. If that's what you think I'm saying, you have me mistaken. But you shouldn't say sorry for disagreeing.

Let's the leave the apologies for when things matter. When we hurt a friend or loved one, of course we should apologize. Let's the leave the word "sorry" for these times. Not only will it allow us to stand up for ourselves as I said early, but it also allows the words we do say- those times when we do say, "I'm sorry"- to mean so much more.

Maybe you think I'm taking this whole thing too seriously, but it hurts me when I see women shrink back, afraid to speak up. I want to be heard. And I want others to be heard as well. I want to listen to you, to see what you see, and gain a new perspective. So stop apologizing! Extend this rule from my small group into your own life. Tell yourself, your friends, and your families to stop apologizing for existing. Tell them that you love their existence, differences and all!

Post scriptum: So I am running my own small group this year and supplemented a couple of added "rules" to it in addition to the "I'm sorry" rule. We also do not say, "Does that make sense?" or "That's stupid/dumb," regarding the things we say because: 1) I want us to feel able to express ourselves so fully that there's no need to ask if the rest of us understand (if we don't understand, we'll ask questions because it means there's more left for you to work out), and 2) Our feelings and thoughts are valid and beautiful, not stupid and we shouldn't use this sort of negative self-talk.

Let me know if there are any phrases you thought of or already have thrown out of your own life!

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