“You know, you didn’t apologize to me.”
“For having spoken rudely to me two days ago.”
“When you got angry and insulted me when I said that you shouldn’t ride bikes because they’re not safe.”
“Well, I didn’t insult you. I love riding. And you persisted despite me explaining how integral a part of my life it is.”
“That doesn’t allow you to be rude.” Her voice grew louder.
“I wasn’t rude. I just told you that I wouldn’t stop riding and that you should back off.”
“So you won’t apologize?”
“THEN YOU DON’T DESERVE ME!” she cried.
This occurred in a mall. She walked away in a huff. I finished my burger, got up and walked quietly, mentally fist-bumping every man who gave me a look of admiration.
Standing up for what we believe in has always been a taboo. If someone gets offended by what you did or said, the status quo demands an apology because the other person felt hurt. It doesn’t matter whether your sentiments were hurt.
This logic is messed up. But then, society is messed up anyway.
The Health Hazards of Constantly Apologizing
Apologies exact a toll on the offender.
When you apologize to someone, you hand them the power— to extend forgiveness and appear like ‘the bigger person’, or to deny the apology and make you feel like crap.
This does not mean we shouldn’t apologize when we mess up. But apologies should not be trivial or rendered often. Especially not when we meant what we said in the first place. Because when you apologize for something you didn’t want to, you silently tell the ‘victim’,
Your approval of me is more important than my personal feelings.
You know this, right? Haven’t you found yourself in a situation where you thought, “I shouldn’t have to apologize.”
Yet, many of us cave into social pressure. As much as that feeling of guilt is real, it’s irrelevant.
Here is what you should do to get rid of the feeling of guilt.
1. Be Comfortable in Your Skin
The guilt mainly stems from being unsure about ourselves. Fear and anxiety dominate our thoughts during such times.
But we have to free ourselves from these insecurities and take back the power of being secure in who we are — flaws, strengths, et all.
2. Choose Your Battles
“Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most important ones and let go of the rest.” — C. Joybell C.
Not all battles are worth fighting. In fact, most are not.
Fighting many battles leaves your tank empty when you need the energy to stand up for yourself. Choose a battle that has serious, long-term implications. Let go of the trivial ones.
When you stand up for what you believe in, you will encounter trolls and dismissive people. Their picking on you doesn’t highlight your inadequacies but on their own.
Carry on with your work. But don’t be afraid to throw back the occasional punch, one which makes the world stand up and say to them — “You got ‘owned’!”
Don’t apologize for that punch either.
3. Don’t Be Offensive
Mounting personal attacks on someone who pisses you off makes you an easy target for your instigator. He can declare to the world that you called him an [expletive] and gain sympathy. All this despite him being the person who began it.
Stay calm and go about your work. Respond to the situation if needed, not the person. This emotional balance will help you keep critics at bay, maintain inner peace, and command respect from those around you.
4. Ask Yourself, “What Matters More?”
Does the person matter more, or what he said? If it’s the former, is he having a bad day? Is it a one-off or frequent?
If it is one-off, can you ignore it? If it’s frequent, do you want to stay connected with someone who behaves like a jerk all the time? You get the drift.
If you stand up for yourself, there will be consequences. People will call you an arrogant, selfish jerk, rude, and many other adjectives. They will hate you.
But this isn’t hatred. It’s jealousy — of your guts to stand up for what you believe in. People hate those whom they want to be like.
Nobody owes you anything, and you owe nothing to anyone. Stop apologizing for what is right by you. Man up and own the consequences of your actions.
Live your life with no regrets, like your mom will be proud to read if it appears on the front page of a newspaper. For all you know, someday it will.