One of my favorite lessons in Spiritual Processing Groups is about why we, as women, apologize too much.
I was sitting at the restaurant with my friend. We had ordered coffee and dessert. The server brought out my coffee - the cup was so warm and cozy in my hand. I reached for the cream on the table and realized she hadn’t brought it with the coffee.
I waited for her to return to our table with the desserts and took a sip of the warm and satisfying magic elixir. (I’m in love with coffee)
She came to the table, set the dessert in front of us and quickly, before she could leave, I said “I’m so sorry, do you think I could get some cream? Sorry! I should have mentioned that before!” She looked at me and said, “Of course! Don’t apologize! I didn’t even ask - I’ll bring some out right away!”
With one phrase “Don’t apologize”, she snapped my brain back to reality. “HELLO?!!! Rochelle, why are you apologizing, and you ‘should’ on yourself! Who cares if you forgot to ask for cream… You didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t disrespect her, call her names, skip out on the bill, or act rudely in any way. You’re apologizing for wanting cream??! Gurl.”
As women, why do we do this? In the article “Why Women Apologize” Dr. Stephen Hinshaw states, “As girls grow up, the messages they receive about what “good” behavior looks like gets more and more complicated and confusing… from a young age boys are praised and encouraged when they show direct, confident behaviors- winning a game or climbing to the highest branch. Girls are also told to be ambitious, smart, and successful. But for them the directive comes with conditions that hamper individuation.
Be confident, but not conceited
Be smart, but one likes a know-it-all
Ambition is good, but trying too hard is bad
Be assertive, but only if it doesn’t upset anyone else
These confusing messages reflect the fact that girls are often expected to be empathetic and hyper-aware of how their actions affect others.”
This is a wrong that needs to be right. Within the female community - WE are the ones who can RIGHT this. WE can model for the culture at large how women ARE assertive, confident, competent and grounded in who we are and the knowledge and wisdom we hold.
You know who didn’t apologize for the knowledge and secret wisdom they held? The women who encountered Jesus. In fact, Jesus was the one who GAVE them this knowledge and understanding, and then told them to go tell OTHERS! That’s how much trust, dignity, and power he gave to women - EQUAL to that of men.
In the Kingdom of Jesus - women don’t apologize. They know what they are doing, what they are asking for and they ask BOLDLY. They act BRAZENLY with no apologies, no protest, no “I don’t know’s”, or “I’m not an expert but….”
Heck no! These women WERE EXPERTS because they were delivering messages that the Lord had given DIRECTLY to them! If that’s how much Jesus thinks about the SPACE that a woman should take up…. Then by golly, I’m gonna take up that much SPACE, because that was God’s HOLY design in the Kingdom of opposites.
Can you imagine if Mary, after knowing she would conceive the Son of Man, went to Joseph and said, “I’m sorry, I need to tell you something, I could be wrong but I think an angel came to me, and I think I might be pregnant, I’m so so sorry, I might be remembering wrong but….”
Or what about the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, “Jesus I’m so so sorry - but I had this idea to anoint your feet as a sign, and I don’t know - it might be silly - I totally understand if you don’t want me to, but I was thinking it could be special…. She starts pouring the oil, and then as she’s wiping his feet with her hair, “I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to wipe all of that off”
What's beautiful about her story in particular, is that she did this without apologizing, or asking and Jesus said, "Leave her alone - her actions today will be remembered and shared with generations to come." That's a serious statement!
Or what about Rahab who hid the disciples in her home, “I’m so so sorry guys, I know it’s not the best basket to climb into, and I forgot to clean it out, so sorry, thank you for putting up with my messy house - I didn’t have time to get organized…I’m sorry it’s so smelly under that flax that you can hide in… “
And what of the women at the tomb? THE FIRST to see Jesus resurrected, and not only that but the FIRST to hear Jesus’ voice endowed by their Creator with a MESSAGE for MEN! Can you imagine if those fierce women walked up to the disciples and said, “Sorry for interrupting guys, but we think we maybe saw Jesus, we don’t know. We might be wrong, but this is what happened. We totally get if you don’t want to believe us, we’re no experts, but this might be what happened… sorry if that’s confusing”
I just LAUGH OUT LOUD when I think about these examples, don’t they sound ridiculous? It’s what I sound like… a LOT! We were programmed to be small and apologize! In contrast, these women BOLDLY did what they KNEW they needed to do and say. No if’s, and’s, but’s or sorry’s about it, they just DID.
I want to be just as loud and valiant as these women.
I will honor myself and my creator in the gifts that I truly do have to share and I will NOT apologize.
How about you? Do you find yourself apologizing for taking up space, for your ideas at work, speaking up, completing a project, or simply breathing?!
Stop it. There is nothing to apologize for, dig deep and undo that programming - show the world of patriarchy that women will no longer apologize for being intelligent, goal oriented, talented, skilled, assertive, kick-ass mom’s, intuitive, nurturing, or wise.
Girl, you got this, puff out your chest and go into the world with your head held high!
Don’t apologize for being a Queen.