As a child, my greatest fear in life was the fear of disappointing or letting down my loved ones. I was—and continue to be—an overly apologetic adult. It took many months of self-reflection, shadow work, and a cognizant effort to recognize the patterns of self-destruction that put me on a path towards restorative transformation. And then I had an epiphany.
Those who are unhealed excessively apologize for their existence. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry for being so annoying” was a common one. I would apologize for taking up space, for using my voice, or really anything of consequence that, in my head, bothered the people around me. In turn, however, many people see this behavior and will weaponize it to gaslight and take advantage of my kindness and generosity. I have since realized I am responsible for setting an example of how I will allow myself to be treated.
Repeat after me: Anyone who reverts to this type behavior was conditioned to put themselves down. For so long, I belittled myself because I was groomed to believe everyone around me had more worth than me. I was a yes person because saying no and setting boundaries was always faced with pushback, guilt trips, and fallouts. I have never felt comfortable disagreeing with others because I am so deathly afraid of confrontation or the feeling of others being mad at me. Trying to take personal responsibility for the happiness of others has been a coping mechanism I’ve relied on to keep people in my life from leaving. It’s unhealthy and toxic.
Stop saying sorry. Stop apologizing for being human. Your self-worth is reflected in your speech, and the more you apologize for hating yourself, the harder it will be to dig yourself out of a cycle of personal belittlement and self-abhorrence. You are worthy of love. You are deserving of genuine human connection. Acknowledge your strengths just as much as you put yourself down. Celebrate your positive traits and manifest building yourself up. There are people in your life who love you and want you to see yourself the way they see you. Accept that some people will leave. Accept that you can’t always be the peacekeeper. Don’t try to make anyone who doesn’t value you stay, and anyone who feels comfortable disrespecting you is not worth chasing. Create boundaries, stick to them, and cut out the poison where you can. Look in the mirror and speak self-love into existence, whether or not you believe it yourself.
Life’s true beauty comes from within. Loving yourself authentically will translate in so many aspects of your life and will foster growth, healthy relationships, and standards that the right people will appreciate. Keep one foot on the ground and hold true to your values. As uncomfortable as it is, never compromise your integrity to appease someone else. Create a life that is boundaried enough that you’re not constantly trying to escape it. Be a presence that commands respect, and stop tolerating behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable. Use your voice. Speak your mind. Make yourself a top priority. Your mental health will eventually thank you.
One of the wisest things I’ve ever been told is to embrace who I am and not to confuse what I perceive is a weakness as a potential strength. I’m rooting for you, and I’m in this with you. We are enough, and it’s time to start living every day unapologetically ourselves.