From an early age, we're taught to color between the lines. We're taught that conformity is "normal" and that we shouldn't ruffle any feathers. As we grow older, we realize life has so much more to offer. We feel guilty about wanting MORE.
We dip our toe in the water (so to speak) and retreat when we experience any resistance. When we get bolder and experience a little success, we apologize for taking what we want. What we were taught comes back to our mind, and we apologize for trying to be different.
Life is short. Too short to apologize for claiming the life we truly want to live. Here are seven reasons why we should not apologize for refusing to conform.
1. Chasing your dreams. I think we can all agree that the "American Dream" lifestyle is broken. Wages are lower, and the cost of everything is increasing. The days of going to a job for 40 years and getting a pension are over. More than that, who wants to spend 40 plus hours each week doing something we hate? Chase your dreams and don't apologize for wanting more from your "work."
2. Valuing your health. There is nothing wrong if someone chooses to drink, smoke, or eat fast food. If you decide that's NOT what you want in your life and for your health, don't apologize. Your body is a temple, and you choose what goes in. If you choose to say NO even though it's socially acceptable, don't feel like an outsider.
3. Ending toxic relationships. Whether it's a friendship, family members or romantic involvements, toxic relationships can ruin your life. As hard as it is, purge relationships from your life that aren't in line with the kind of life you want to live.
4. Avoiding complacency. Too often in life, we confuse being grateful with being complacent. You can be grateful for the life you have, yet want to do bigger and greater things. Being comfortable is the enemy of progress because it convinces you to settle.
5. Never looking back. If you have left behind an old way of living or negative people, don't apologize or look back. Keep moving forward. Keep chasing bigger and higher dreams. Never settle.
6. Being confident in what you want.A lot of times confidence is confused with arrogance. Face it; there are some of us who know what we want and go after those things. Don't apologize for your certainty and persistence in accomplishing big goals and dreams. Let confidence be your guide through the times when doubt and fear try to derail you.
7. Saying No. We are people pleasers by nature and it's hard to say NO. We want people to like us and in our minds saying YES helps. More times than not, saying NO frees us up to say YES to the things that help our life and dreams. Never apologize for saying No to something that doesn't benefit your goals and dreams.
Even though apologizing is in our nature, we can break the habit and live free. "Success" will have a different meaning for anyone reading this, but I think a good universal definition is freedom. We long to live life on our terms and spend our time doing what's important to us. Chase that kind of life and don't apologize.
Photo credit: Flickr/ Salvatore Iovene