essay

Guilt and Apology: Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations

Have you ever said that you were sorry when you didn’t actually do anything wrong?

I have. Sometimes I find myself constantly apologize for myself, as if I was a constant inconvenience and never doing as well I need to.

Apologizing can be necessary and a really good thing to do. Saying I’m sorry when I have hurt someone is meaningful. But have said it too much, to the point where my existence almost became an apology. But I don’t have to apologize for existing, or for having weaknesses, or for never always doing everything quite right.

I’ve heard from a few different places that you can substitute “I’m sorry” for “Thank you.” We say things like this: I’m sorry I’m late. I’m sorry for not doing better. I’m sorry for not getting it done. I’m sorry that I talk so much. I’m sorry for having emotions. I’m sorry I’m not perfect. But we can say this instead: Thank you for waiting for me. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for spending time with me.

When we are always apologizing, we just end up sticking shame on ourselves and clinging on to unrealistic expectations. It makes other people feel incredibly uncomfortable sometimes, because they often want to help and be with you and they don’t mind the inconvenience because they like you.

Sometimes apologizing is simply a reflection of our own insecurities.

I have been trying really hard lately to let go of unnecessary guilt just like I’m letting go of unnecessary apologies. They are the same thing, really. We can’t ever change what happened, but we can know that change is possible now and in the future.

So I have to let go of what happened and look forward to doing better. I am so glad I get to keep trying. There is so much hope in the world.

I’m not going to apologize for not being perfect, because no one is. But I can be grateful that I can keep trying. I’m grateful for hope. I’m grateful for letting go of expectations and knowing that I am worthwhile and being okay with myself while still striving to improve.

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