Stop catering to the critics and just do you ... happily!
Ladies ... uttering the words "I'm so sorry" when your friend grieves for a loved one is completely appropriate, but apologizing to the barista when you ask for the correct drink after receiving the wrong order is not necessary.
According to a study in the Journal of Psychological Science, women are more likely to offer an apology in everyday situations. It's as if "sorry" has become a basic qualifier for any need, desire or opinion we have.
For many women, apologizing is inexorably linked with our concept of politeness, but honestly, how polite is it to ourselves when we constantly apologize for our existence all day long?
It's time to live unapologetically, ladies! Here are 10 things a confident woman should never ever say she's "sorry" for:
1. Your "man" status
Do you feel zero desire to obtain your "MRS. Degree?" Being a single woman is not a crime, despite your mom asking WHEN you'll be a good girl and walk down the aisle already. Shacking up with the love of your life? He actually doesn't have to "put a ring on it" for the two of you to enjoy a long, loving, and healthy committed relationship. Or, elated with the role of "wife" and desire to live your white picket fence dreams to the fullest? Good for you!
No matter what your relationship status on Facebook, your worth as a human being doesn't change based on your love life. Being happy with yourself and the life you're living right now is all that matters, despite what your mom might want.
2. How you choose to use your womb
Are your parents hinting that you need to hurry up and "make them grandparents," yet you've decided that being a mom isn't right for you? Sorry mom and pops, what you do with your womb is your decision, not their's. Or, has someone told you that "only" having one child is selfish? Or, maybe your friend is in your face with her opinion that no sane person has more than two children, and you want five?
Your womb — your choice! It's your choice if you'll use it, how often you'll use it (or even whether you'll rent it out as a surrogate). None of that is anyone's business but YOURS. Being a parent is a lifetime commitment and you are the only person who can decide if parenthood is right for you.
3. Your parenting style
Have a clutter-free home, two kids, and a dog yet friends insist that no "real mom" has such a neat house? Or, do you let your toddler hang out with Elmo so you can relax over your morning coffee and you feel guilty because a "real mom" should play educational games with her toddler, not let said child watch TV? (gasp! The horror!) Or, maybe you secretly can't wait for your kiddos to head off to college?
No matter how you're parenting, baby, you're doing the best you can. No one else can tell you what being a "real mom" looks like, so trust me: You are a "REAL" mom, however you choose to do it. And you're doing a fabulous job, too (just look how great your kids are)!
4. How often you get busy between the sheets
Have you heard that most happy couples have sex twice a week? Are you afraid that a once a week romp with your husband means you don't have a happy marriage? Or, are you feeling slut-shamed by your friends when you confess that you and your honey hump like bunnies?
As long as you and your sexual partner feel satisfied with how often you're getting intimate, that's all that matters. Research shows that if you're having sex for a reason other than truly wanting and liking it, those sex acts actually harm not only your relationship, but your mood, as well. Daily, twice a week, or once a month doesn't define your relationship's health or happiness. What matters is that it's just the right amount of pleasurable sex for you.
5. Your level of success
Not earning six figures by your 30th birthday? You have no ambition and clearly you're a slacker! (wink!) Love your career and feel great about your position on the corporate ladder? Well, you're just too ambitious! Do you have an awesome gig but downplay your success, because it makes others uncomfortable? Are you "just" a SAHM with no "real" ambition? Who said raising little humans isn't ambitious?
In the Mayo Clinic's Handbook for Happiness, Amit Sood reminds us that no matter what you do or how much money you make, your work is valuable to society. If you find meaning and satisfaction in what you do, that's what matters. Striving to achieve some external measure of "success" cultivates temporary pride in something that is ultimately unsatisfying.
6. Your beauty routine (or lack thereof)
Does it take you an hour to get ready? Do you watch all the latest YouTube videos on how to use contouring make-up for a flawless look? Or, can you go from alarm clock to walking out the door in less than twenty-minutes? Or, maybe you are a strictly an "au natural" kind of woman.
Mastering an efficient beauty routine or choosing not to wear make-up are not crimes against society. And if you love how wearing make-up makes you feel, then Sugar, you keep playing with that Urban Decay Naked Palette.
The number one criteria around your beauty routine is this: if you feel confident about yourself when you step out in the world, that's all that matters. We all know that confidence is an inside job and no amount of make-up (or lack thereof) will change your inner glow.
7. Your style choices
Do you rock a daily uniform of yoga pants and fitted tees? Are you having a love affair with Jimmie Choo? Love classic silhouettes? Did someone tell you that middle aged women shouldn't wear short skirts?
Yes, research shows that what we wear also affects how we feel about ourselves, but whatever makes you feel fabulous about yourself is a personal choice — not the dictate of society, your best friend, your partner, or your mother. Choose clothes based on your lifestyle. Clothing that supports you in doing things that make you feel brave or that simply make you feel joyful are valuable. Clothing that makes you feel powerful and assured is a better measuring stick than the pages of Vogue.
8. Your bikini body (or glorious muffin top)
Proudly showing off your six-pack abs? Happy wearing a bikini with a lot of cleavage and a bit of a muffin top? The number on your scale, the size of your dress, or the tone of your muscles does not define your intrinsic worth as a human being. Nor does your worthiness of love depend on the size of your thighs, your bounce in your breasts, or the flatness of your belly.
Regardless of body size, you deserve to feel seen and heard, without judgment.
Focus your precious time and energy on living your life to the fullest and not obsessing over how you look naked. There is no need to postpone your life or withhold pursuing your desires until you reach some arbitrary weight goal or outward definition of beauty.
What's important is that you're healthy and take care of yourself. The size and shape of your body doesn't always reflect your inner health. Loving yourself no matter your size is what's important.
9. Daring to embrace your age (or fighting it tooth and nail)
Are you going gloriously grey? Have a standing appointment with your dermatologist for Botox? Our modern society has a lot of rules for how to age gracefully, but why should we follow those arbitrary guidelines of a patriarchal society?
The pressure to look "young" requires you to deny who you are and suggests you should feel bad about the natural process of life. You don't need to strive to long "young." Instead, invest in looking and feeling your best ... as you uniquely define that.
Getting older is a simple fact of life; how you choose to manage the process of aging doesn't need explaining to anyone. If you're happy with how you look and feel, then that's what matters.
Aging is simply a number. Cultivating a youthful spirit and improving how you live trumps an aging body anytime (even if you decide a little Botox helps.)
10. What you like to splurge on
Can't begin your day without your daily Starbucks latte? Do you have a standing monthly appointment for a mani-pedi? Does getting a new stamp on your passport each year thrill you? Does every conversation with your father or partner end with them saying, "I don't understand why you waste your money on ..."
As long as you aren't going into debt financing your indulgences and these splurges truly help you feel more engaged in your life, then darling, go ahead and indulge. Life is short but not always easy, so choosing to "Treat yo self" is a mantra we should all embrace.
Living life on your terms is the path to living a life that's loving, supportive, fun, and fabulous. Stop wasting valuable energy explaining your choices or apologizing for how you choose to live life. It's time to drop arbitrary "sorrys" from your vocabulary, ladies!
A self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle (and life coach), Debra Smouse discovered a happier existence when she stopped apologizing for her out-of-the-box life choices. Connect with her at DebraSmouse.com, on Facebook, and Twitter.