10 Things The Strongest Women Refuse To Apologize For

There's a big difference between owning your mistakes and apologizing for what makes you who you are.

Last updated on Apr 16, 2024

Strong unapologetic woman Mushaboom Studio | Unsplash

For many women, apologizing is inexorably linked with our concept of politeness, and it's great to be polite. But honestly, how polite is it to ourselves when we constantly apologize for our existence all day long?

Ladies, uttering the words, "I'm so sorry," when your friend grieves for a loved one is completely appropriate. Apologizing when you've been thoughtless and taking responsibility is a sign of maturity. But apologizing to the barista who is rude to you is unnecessary. Worse, apologizing for having an opinion or setting a boundary undermines your well-being. And still, we continue to do it. It's as if "sorry" has become a basic qualifier for any need, desire, or opinion we have.


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Here are 10 things women should never have to apologize for.

1. Your relationship 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 walking down the aisle already. Shacking up with the love of your life? He 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 is, 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 theirs. 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 mom looks like, so trust me: You are a 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. Having sex for a reason other than truly wanting and liking it is harmful to yourself and your relationship. 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.


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5. Your level of success

Not earning six figures by your thirtieth birthday? You have no ambition, and 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 (stay-at-home mom) with no "real" ambition? Who said raising little humans isn't ambitious?

hanging out the window on a road tripPhoto: Jacob Lund via Shutterstock


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 an alarm clock to walking out the door in less than twenty minutes? Or, maybe you are strictly an au natural kind of woman.

Mastering an efficient beauty routine or choosing not to wear makeup are not crimes against society. And if you love how wearing makeup makes you feel, then sugar, you keep playing with that Urban Decay Naked Palette.

The number one criterion around your beauty routine is this: if you feel confident about yourself when you step into the world, that's all that matters. We all know that confidence is an inside job and no amount of makeup (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?

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, partner, or mother. Choose clothes based on your lifestyle. Clothing that supports you in doing things that make you feel brave or that make you feel joyful is valuable. Clothing that makes you feel powerful and assured is a better measuring stick than the pages of Vogue.

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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, the bounce in your breasts, or the flatness of your belly. 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 don'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 gray? 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 look "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 time (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 yourself" 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 "sorries" from your vocabulary, ladies!

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Debra Smouse is a life coach and author whose work has been published in TIME, Huffington Post, MSN, Psychology Today, and more.