16 things you should never apologize for (but probably do)

by Brendan Brown | March 19, 2024, 3:33 pm

As kids, we’re taught to say sorry and to have manners, but sometimes we overdo it. Women tend to be more prone to this unfortunately.

The urge to continually apologize can sometimes stem from a place of wanting to keep the peace, maintain relationships, or navigate the world without causing waves. 

But it’s important to remember that not everything requires an apology. Apologizing too frequently can actually undermine your confidence and make you feel undervalued—especially in the workplace. 

If you’re someone who’s always saying “sorry,” it’s time to reassess. Here are 16 things you should never apologize for (but probably do):

1) Having emotions

“I’m sorry I feel this way,” you might say out loud or even to yourself. But, stop! Your emotions are valid, and you don’t need to apologize for having them

They’re a natural human response to experiences and circumstances, and they give insight into what you’re feeling and thinking.

If you find yourself apologizing for being emotional, remember that it’s okay to have feelings, and it’s okay to express them. 

Your emotions are part of your human experience and something you should never have to apologize for.

2) Saying no

Setting boundaries is essential for your mental and emotional health. 

If something doesn’t align with your values, abilities, or schedule, it’s okay to say no. It’s a sign of self-respect and an important aspect of self-care.

You should never apologize for setting boundaries, especially when someone is overstepping or making you uncomfortable. 

It’s not a rejection of the person asking, but rather an affirmation of your needs and limits.

3) Asking questions

Questions are the foundation of learning and understanding. Asking them doesn’t make you appear ignorant or bothersome. 

On the contrary, it shows your desire to learn, grow, and engage. It’s a sign that you’re invested and interested, and that’s a trait to be celebrated, not apologized for.

So next time you’re in a meeting, don’t start your inquiry with an “I’m sorry for asking this, but…” Just simply ask and commit! 

And while we’re at it, take this thought out of your head: that asking questions will make you sound dumb. That’s a story for another time, but we’re planting the seed now.

4) Your appearance

Do you have your own style of dressing? Then more power to you!

How you choose to present yourself is a personal decision. Whether it’s your clothing, hairstyle, or makeup, you don’t owe anyone an apology for your personal style or appearance.

If you feel comfortable and authentic in your appearance, you’re doing it right. Never apologize for being yourself and expressing your personality through your style.

5) Being ambitious

What about your dreams? Should you shrink them down for the comfort of other people? 

Definitely not. 

Your ambition is a driving force for your personal and professional growth. It’s not something you should downplay or apologize for.

It shows your passion, dedication, and drive. It’s a powerful attribute that should be celebrated, not apologized for.

Just remember to show gratitude every step of the way and share the spotlight when warranted. 

This leads me to my next point…

6) Being successful

When you finally achieve your goals – whether it’s a promotion at work or a personal achievement, you should never apologize for your success. You worked hard for it and you deserve to celebrate it.

And when people congratulate you, simply say, “thank you.” Oftentimes, people will show gratitude, but then follow up with something that diminishes their success or defends it. Refrain.

Remind yourself that you deserve it!

Your success is something to be proud of, not something you should feel guilty about. 

Don’t let others’ insecurities or jealousy make you feel like you should apologize for succeeding.

7) Taking time for yourself

Moms, I see you.

Self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary. 

Taking time for yourself, whether it’s for relaxation, hobbies, or personal growth, is essential for your well-being.

Don’t apologize for prioritizing your self-care. It’s not only a fundamental aspect of your health but also a crucial part of being able to show up fully in other areas of your life.

8) Your past

Everyone has a past, and everyone has made mistakes. These experiences shape us and contribute to our growth. 

You should never apologize for your past, as it’s a part of who you are.

Instead of feeling regretful or apologetic, embrace your past as part of your journey. 

It’s helped shape the person you are today, and that’s something you should never apologize for.

However, if there are aspects in your past that are affecting you and others around you negatively now, take some steps to improve. That’s all.

9) Your opinions

We all have our own perspectives and beliefs, and they’re an essential part of who we are. As long as they’re expressed respectfully, you should never apologize for having and voicing your opinions.

Your opinions reflect your experiences, values, and intellect. 

They add diversity to discussions and contribute to a broader understanding of the world. They’re part of your authenticity, and that’s something you should never apologize for.

10) Your relationship status

Ah, this one’s tricky. Different cultures have different opinions on one’s relationship status. 

But the truth is, it’s nobody’s business. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or “it’s complicated,” you should never feel the need to apologize for your relationship status. 

It’s a personal matter and something that doesn’t define your worth or value.

Your relationship status is just one facet of your life. It doesn’t determine your value or happiness, and it’s not something you need to apologize for.

11) Your personal choices

Just like your relationship status, your personal choices are just that—personal. They reflect your values, priorities, and individual journey. 

As long as you’re not harming others, you should never feel the need to apologize for them.

Your choices are part of your life story. 

They help shape your journey and define your personal growth. They’re something you should never apologize for.

12) Being yourself

This is perhaps the most important point on the list. You should never apologize for being who you are

Your quirks, passions, and characteristics make you unique. 

Embrace your individuality, and don’t apologize for it. Being authentically you is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and the world.

13) Asking for help

There’s strength in recognizing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. It doesn’t make you weak or incapable; it makes you human.

Don’t apologize for reaching out when you need assistance. It’s a sign of wisdom and maturity, and that’s something you should never feel sorry for.

14) Your background

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has a different story to tell. 

Your upbringing, culture, and the environment you grew up in play a significant role in who you are today.

You should never apologize for where you came from. It has influenced your perspectives, your beliefs, and your character. 

It’s a part of who you are, and you should never feel the need to apologize for it. In fact, it’s made you unique. It gave you a perspective no one else has. If anything, share it!

15) Needing alone time

Everybody needs time alone, and some people need it more than others. 

Whether you’re an introvert who requires solitude to recharge or you simply value your alone time, it’s okay to ask for space.

You should never apologize for needing time to yourself. It’s essential for your mental well-being and personal growth. 

Don’t consider it a reflection of your feelings towards others. Instead, know that it’s a necessary step in self-care.

16) Prioritizing your mental health

Mental health is as important as physical health, and taking steps to care for your mental well-being is vital. 

When you take a mental health day, seek therapy, or set boundaries, don’t feel the need to apologize for prioritizing your mind and soul.

Your mental health matters and taking care of it is crucial for your overall well-being. It’s not something you should feel guilty about or feel the need to apologize for.

Wrapping up

If you find yourself apologizing for these things, take a step back and remember: You are deserving, you are enough, and you don’t need to apologize for being you. 

This realization can be empowering and life-changing. Embrace it and start living unapologetically.

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