stop apologizing

While I'm all for people expressing remorse when they're at fault, I'd become a compulsive apologizer. The habit stemmed from childhood, when I was trained to beg forgiveness for staining my apron while my brother could run wild.
I've never met a divorced parent who doesn't have at least some amount of regret about what their children went through as a result of their divorce. That regret in and of itself is not a problem. But if you get mired in it, you can end up compounding the damage. And that is a problem.
As I go through the growing pains of becoming a "real adult," I'm realizing that the notion that I'm responsible for everything that comes into my life is absolute, total crap. Sometimes there are things we just shouldn't apologize for.
What happened to saying no and not following up with an explanation? What happened to just saying, "I don't feel like it"?
For me, and many other women, apologizing, whether it's warranted or not, has become a constant, chronic state of mind. Saying "I'm sorry" so often gives power away. It's prostrating, docile, negating.
Existing in a space is not a privilege -- it is a right. Treat it as such, and have the courage to stop apologizing for it.
Are we apologizing in order to navigate our way through a still-sexist workplace, where issuing normal demands and requests can still brand a woman as "difficult" in the eyes of her coworkers? Are we apologizing to appear more likable? Are we genuinely stepping on a lot of strangers' feet?
This isn't about not holding myself accountable for my actions; it's about no longer reflexively blurting out an apology I don't really owe. It's about changing my default setting from unnecessary guilt.
It is conventional wisdom that we’re our own worst enemies and despite the cliche, the idea rings true.
Nora Ephron showed us through both her characters and her life that smart girls finish first. Let's live up to her example -- and quit apologizing for it!