Why do women apologise for everything?

Women with hands over heart

Why do women apologise for everything?

This year is a watershed for women. So much came, and continues, to come to light or rather a spotlight has been shone on things that were taboo for women to talk about for decades, no, generations.

I’ve done many hours of introspection and thinking about my own experiences as a woman living in South Africa in light of what’s been happening lately. I realised that even as a modern, independent woman in 2019, certain behaviours were engrained in me and it’s difficult to undo. It’s the same ones that were engrained in my mother and infinite generations before her. This is true for most women.

We’re always apologising

One of the behaviours I noticed in myself and some of the other women around me is that we’re always apologising. For everything, even when we shouldn’t.

We are the peacekeepers and the peacemakers. When and why did this responsibility fall solely on our shoulders?

At times it feels like we are apologising for our existence or for existing in a man’s orbit. It’s another way for women to shrink ourselves and take up the least amount of space; because we’ve always been told that we’re in a man’s world and there’s very little place for us in it. Even though this is never verbally expressed to us, everything about the way we were raised screamed this at us, making it very clear. This is true even in 2019 when we’re supposed to feel empowered and liberated.

Three women sitting at a table

Why do I apologise so much?

Since I realised that I compulsively apologise a hundred times a day, I now think twice before I utter the words “I’m sorry” and think about why I feel the need to. It’s difficult at times, especially when I know I didn’t do anything to warrant it. I still want to keep the peace in fear of confrontation or causing a scene. Heaven forbids.

That’s another thing, why are we raised dreading confrontation and men thrive on it?

It will take time to unlearn this and, in the meantime, I feel guilty when I don’t apologise. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

My hope is that the next generation is raised to truly feel like equals in this world. Do you have similar experiences?

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Anne Dolinschek
Anne Doli
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