Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Sorry for Being Sorry

One habit that I have had a particularly difficult time breaking is my tendency to apologize for just about everything.  I apologize for what I say, I apologize for things I do and do not do, and I apologize for who I am.  I'm sure some of you have noticed that on my blog, when discussing a contentious topic (which does not happen often given my fear of confrontation) I usually spend as much time apologizing for my opinion as I do actually struggling to verbalize it.

As you can imagine I believe this comes from a deep-rooted insecurity that's been clinging to my back for, well, as long as I can remember.  I can't ever remember being totally comfortable with myself in any situation, and because I am usually repulsed by my own presence I assume that everyone else feels the same way.  Usually when someone agrees to hang out with me (for whatever reason) I give them ample opportunity to escape me it and then apologize for my seemingly endless awkwardness.  I generally operate under one of two assumptions when dealing with anyone in my life, to include Rob: (1) They are only spending time with me to humor me or (2) I've managed to dupe just about everyone in my life into thinking I'm a person that deserves love or friendship when really I'm just an obnoxious unwitting con-artist.

I had an epiphany about this a few days ago.  Simply put, when I apologize for being me I am granting power over my life to someone else.  I am allowing some other person--even if they don't realize I'm doing it or have malicious intentions--to control what I think and how I feel about myself.  And perhaps more illogically, I'm thereby making the assumption that that person isn't dealing with their own shit and trying to figure out life themselves.

It's as if I think that they can define me better than I can define myself.

My epiphany led me to the question of why I let this happen and why I let myself think this way.  I tried to remind myself that if I was really as repulsive as I imagine, I probably wouldn't have an amazing husband that astounds me every day with his kindness and understanding.  I probably wouldn't be as successful as I am in my job.  I probably wouldn't have the great friends that I do have.  My life is full and my life is happy, and it's time I come to fully appreciate it. 

So because I love lists, here is a list of things I need to work on toward this end:

  • I need to work on taking control of my life and of the image I have of myself.  This is the only life I have and I spend far too much time acting like I'm going to get yelled at at each turn.
  • I need to learn to truly love myself.  To not self-deprecate, even in jest, and to not treat myself any harder than I would treat another.
  • I need to stop the dysmorphia and to stop assuming that other people understand me better than I understand me.
  • I need to stop letting the dysmorphia define me.  I am not defined by my magnified flaws, but by the entire person that I am.
  • I need to let go of toxic people in my life.  This is a whole post in and of itself, but in the past I have typically been drawn to toxic, damaged people who suck out the best of me and turn their backs when I most need them.  I need to fill my life with friends who appreciate who Caitlin is.
  • I need to take care of myself.
I don't know how best to end this so I will do so with the quote from a woman I particularly admire:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

19 comments:

  1. Beautiful Caitlin. You're on the right track. Learn to love yourself first and everything else will fall evenly into place.

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  2. This is amazing and so inspiring! I can completely relate to this and this post is a great reminder of things I need to keep in perspective, so thank you for that and I wish you the best of luck!

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  3. I hear you girl. Self consciousness is a crazy thing. It's often irrational and usually mind-consuming... But if you can keep reminding yourself that you're wrong in assuming everyone is just humoring you, then you're on the right track :)

    I definitely feel like that too. I have those moments where I'm convinced people are talking about me the minute I leave a room. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. There truly is nothing I can change about that so I keep reminding myself to just BE HAPPY. So I'm sending you the same reminder because I find it rather helpful when I'm having a particularly crap day.

    Also, you're awesome k? k! :)

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  4. ugh. i deal with apologizing all the time as well. even when things aren't my fault. i just say it because it's kind of second nature now, you know? :)

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  5. wow. i feel like you vocalized my thoughts! Im proud of you for putting it all out there. Thank you for making me realize other people struggle with self worth.

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  6. This was such a lovely and heartfelt read! Thank you for sharing it with us all :) I think that everyone should take the time to write out a list such as this. It helps not only realize our problems but also look back and see just how silly some of those problems actually are when you see them actually written out.

    Sounds to me like you're doing more than well for yourself! Chin up buttercup! Mrs. Roosevelt makes a good point ;)

    A Sweet Release

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  7. SO many people need to hear what you just said. Myself included!

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  8. Love this post. I just found your blog and I have a feeling I will be browsing around for a while. I can totally relate to what you said above. Thank you for being so real and raw.
    +followed

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  9. caitlin-
    i feel like this post in the right first step in achieving your goals and making those changes. you have no idea how brave and strong you are for 1. admitting all these things about yourself and 2. blogging about it for the whole world to see! you are so brave, inspiring, and an overall beautiful person. i truly hope that one day you will see yourself the way everyone who loves you does. you deserve to respect and love yourself.
    keep us all updated on your progress!

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  10. I'm still like this at times, but I've improved a lot. I used to apologize for everything that made me... me. Everything that defined the wonderful person I was. Because it wasn't suited to others. And then I realized that's not a good thing. It's not doing anyone any favors. I'm tearing myself down and leading people to believe I have no backbone. No dignity. Nothing.

    I'm so proud of you for making this step. It's a hard one, but it's so worth it.

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  11. Oh, sweet woman, I am so glad you are coming to this realization! I used to be a chronic I'm sorry sayer, too, for very similar reasons. I'm proud of you for realizing what a wonderful human being you really are and for taking these first steps! *hugs*

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  12. This is my favorite line of this whole post: "I apologize for being me I am granting power over my life to someone else."

    THAT is something I, too, struggle with almost daily. I have a few people in my life who I let have power over the way I think and feel that should NOT. So, I'm right there with ya.

    This is a FABULOUS post, my friend. Thank you for putting yourself out there and being so authentic!

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  13. One of my all-time favorite quotes ever :)

    I say "I'm sorry" way too much, but I am glad you are having this realization! I love reading your posts and wish I had the guts to really post a lot that's on my mind (hence why I link up so much!).

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  14. I apologize for everything too. I don't even mean it half the time - I do it mostly towards my husband. He'll joke and say "Good, you should be sorry" because he knows me saying sorry is just a bad habit, then I half fake flip out and say, "I take it back, *@#$ you!" LOL!

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  15. you remind me so much of my best friend. obviously, that's a good thing because...well, she's awesome

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  16. When I learned to stop apologizing (and it is a learnt and practiced behavior), I began to like myself more. I realized that what I'd been apologizing for was who I was. I was apologizing for being myself, as if that self wasn't worth the space it took up. Letting go of that self-loathing freed me up to be more ME.

    Hang in there. Say nice things to yourself when no one else is around. Gradually that will turn into saying nice things about yourself when others are around, and hen you'll be spreading love even more than you already are :)

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  17. Thank you for being so honest. I can totally relate to the feeling that people are just spending time with me to humor me/be nice to the loser, and no one really WANTS to be around me. Intellectually I know it's not true, but it doesn't stop the little feeling inside.

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