How often do the words I'm sorry spill out of your mouth? If you're a woman, you're likely to apologize way more than your male counterparts.
Research from the University of Waterloo, Canada showed that in a controlled group of men and women, women apologized far more frequently. Not just that, but the women felt more things warranted an apology than their male counterparts. Our very perception of what merits an apology is so different than men’s!
Far more subtle and insidious than the simple I’m-Sorry-Syndrome is an apologizing mindset where women apologize for who they are, how they look, what they want, and the choices they make.
Here are a few things women need to stop apologizing for:
1. Apologizing for our bodies
At any given time, 53% of 13 year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% by age 17. What was meant to be our biggest, most loyal friend has become an unworthy foe that needs to be starved, stuffed, treated, plucked, dyed, tanned in order to fit with an unrealistic ideal. By disengaging with our bodies or by trying to contort it to look a certain way, we are destroying the very foundation of our Goddess nature.
For us to experience our real authentic self, we need to have a deep and loving relationship with our body. Not one where we fight and work against it, but where we tune in to her needs, her wisdom, so she can serve us well, point us in the right direction and keep us healthy and happy.
2. Apologizing for aging
I once saw a juxtaposed image of two famous Hollywood celebrities in a magazine. One was a man, one was a woman, and they were both 31 years old. The male celebrity looked like normal 31 year-olds do: He had lines around his mouth and crow's feet around his eyes. The female looked 10 years younger—not because she was naturally baby-faced, but because she'd obviously had work done.
According to Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging products market will reach almost $300 billion by 2015. Undeterred by the global economic crises, this industry keeps growing, fueled by women's insecurities about themselves. What is fundamentally wrong with a woman who looks her age, be it 30 or 65? She talks, she laughs, and she frowns and cries. What is the problem if life's experiences begin to reflect on her face? Can we relax into this process and actually celebrate it?
3. Apologizing for our achievements
A study at the Aston University, UK found women were four times more likely than men to be self-deprecating, use humor, and speak indirectly or apologetically when broaching difficult subjects with board members in order to avoid conflict. Women are also much more likely to downplay their achievements when building resumes than men are.
4. Apologizing for our menstrual cycle
All major religions guided by patriarchal systems, without exception, have held very primitive beliefs about a woman's menstrual cycle and placed heavy restrictions and limitations on menstruating women. Over time, this has led to a separation between women and their own power. The two main taboos that transcend all cultures are that a woman's menstruation is unclean and impure, and that it should be a private, hidden affair. As a result, women learn at an early age to associate their period with a sense of shame, guilt, and embarrassment and are left to deal with it all by themselves with little information or guidance.
If we travel further back in time, before patriarchal systems governed our societal norms, women and menstruation were deeply revered and honored. Menstruating women were considered to have access to higher powers, greater intuition and heightened sensitivity. Native American cultures consulted women during their menstruating phase for solutions to social problems and other guidance for their community.
Around the globe, women are beginning to reclaim their feminine power and wisdom, explore true freedom and their unique self-expression. This growth and expansion will be greatly supported when we let go of our own self-limiting beliefs and allow our radiance to shine through.