Are You Really Sorry?

Sorry At Forty FiveDear nice lady in the local supermarket who wanted to reach for a can of tuna as I happened to be standing there grabbing a can of salmon, I’m sorry for being in your way.

Had I known that you would be arriving at that spot just a tad later than I had gotten there, I never would have stopped for my salmon. In fact, I would have avoided that aisle entirely so you might have all the room you needed to make your tuna decision.

Of course, you didn’t request that I apologize and, indeed, you very patiently waited for me to make my selection. But as a woman, I feel the need to do so. It’s what I’ve been trained to do.

And if you happen to slam into my shopping cart as you round the corner of the bread aisle when I am passing by on my way to the peanut butter, I will say I’m sorry. There is no need for you to bother asking forgiveness for pushing your cart too fast without looking ahead. I’ll take care of the apologizing for you.

This is what I do; I walk through life uttering apologies for all sorts of activities that are really not my fault. Run out of eggs when I didn’t even know my husband had used the last one? I’m sorry (for not being psychic and knowing they egg carton was empty). Entertain friends at my house when suddenly the power goes out? I apologize for the outage. I even apologize for the thunderstorms that caused the problem. Somehow I’m sure the inconvenience must be my fault.

Why do I – indeed most women – lay blame upon myself so immediately when something goes awry? Somehow, somewhere there must be an errant gene floating around within my makeup. A gene that causes all of the world’s problems? I think not. But a gene that causes me to assume guilt for absolutely everything – well, absolutely. That and very careful teaching by my mother who, in turn, had been taught by her mother that if there is a problem, the woman must be the cause.

woman-850330_1280Well, as the saying goes, “the buck stop here” and I am ready to take a stand on my own behalf and, hopefully, that of my daughters and granddaughters. With you as my witnesses, I am stating, quite unequivocally, that I am tired of blaming myself for all of the ills, mistakes, and problems in the world. Do I cause some of them? Without a doubt. Are there times when saying “I’m sorry” is necessary and the correct thing to do in a particular situation? Of course. But all the time? Uhuh. Nope.

So, nice lady waiting for me to choose my salmon, I will move as efficiently as possible in that canned fish aisle and, when I am finished I will push my cart out of your way, smile politely and wish you a fine day.

But I will not apologize.


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Golden’s latest book, One Pedal at a Time: A Novice Caregiver and Her Cyclist Husband Face Their New Normal With Courage, Tenacity and Abundant Love, focuses on her new life as the caregiver to her husband, Joe after he suffered debilitating strokes two years ago.

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CJ Golden
CJ Golden Contributor
As the author of Tao of the Defiant Woman: Five Brazen Ways to Accept What You Must and Rebel Against the Rest and its subsequent book for teen and pre-teen girls, Tao-Girls Rule: Finding Balance, Staying Strong, Being Bold in a World of Challenges, CJ Golden has been writing, blogging, speaking and facilitating workshops for national and local women’s and girls’ organizations. She continues to help women and teens find joy along their life paths despite the struggles they may encounter
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