Words and phrases, like fashion, can be trendy. Thanks to COVID-19, unprecedented, social distancing, pandemic, and herd immunity are now part of our every day conversation. In the corporate world, if I had a dollar for every time someone uttered transparent, circle back around, pain point, or metrics, I could have retired quite comfortably years ago.

It’s interesting when a word is taken from obscurity and thrust into the linguistic limelight. Recently, I have noticed one particular word that is making the rounds. It has popped up in podcasts, articles, and social media posts. Welcome unapologetic to our vernacular.

I have seen this used in the context of living an unapologetic life. There was something about this that challenged my southern sensibilities and good manners. It made me uncomfortable.

The basic premise of being unapologetic is that you live with no regrets, don’t apologize for who you are, and live life on your own terms. In theory, this is a concept that I can embrace. So, why did I feel the need to keep it at arm’s length now?

As I examined my discomfort, it didn’t take long for me to identify its root cause. It was difficult to admit that in the not so distant past, I apologized for things that didn’t require an apology, at least, not from me. As I read, and listened to, others expound on all things unapologetic, I unpacked (side note: unpacked is having its day in the spotlight, as well) my shame tinged discomfort around it.

While I am a firm believer in offering an apology for harmful or inappropriate words and actions, for far too long, I also subscribed to the belief that an apology could be used as a panacea for a variety of real or perceived ills. I apologized to keep the peace. To avoid conflict. To be liked. To be accepted. To excuse who I am. To compensate for everything I am not. It was unnecessary, and it was exhausting.

It took time for me to let go of that knee jerk reaction to apologize. I had to stop apologizing and become more unapologetic. We each have one unique, unapologetic life to live, and we need to define what this means to us. I used to joke that I was surprised that I’m sorry were not my first words, but now, I am bound and determined that they won’t be last words.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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