You know it all too well because you’ve so seen so many women do it all the time and more importantly, you’ve done it too, most probably unconsciously. Well, you’re not alone and that’s for sure because so many women all over the world struggle with saying sorry all too much, even when they are not at fault. In the words of Taylor Swift, we females need to deprogram the misogyny in our own minds, why? It’s because we have been trained, conditioned, actually to do so. It might seem a small matter in the grander scheme of things, but it might be that women are profusely apologizing in order to cushion their actions. “Even now we will get penalized for speaking out or speaking up, and get called bossy, aggressive or a bitch, whereas a man would be called a leader.”
Empathy in a woman is valued far more than strength
“In England, women used to have a horrible metal implement locked on their head for speaking out in public or for arguing with their husbands, and then paraded through the villages. It was called the Scold’s Bridle and was intended to humiliate women,” explained psychologist Rachel Green from The Emotional Intelligence Institute and this has passed down from generation to generation. Today, even in India, women might not be paraded in public at least not in urban areas, but there is a massive stigma associated with standing up for yourself as a woman. From a young age, if not birth, girls have been conditioned to value the trait of empathy rather than strength, which is seen as a masculine trait. Hence, when women are required to be assertive or firm, they feel the need to apologize for their words or actions or both. Other women are worried about hurting other people and though this depends on how there were raised or which religious of cultural background they come from, women have apologized for speaking their mind at least a few times in their life, if not more. On the other hand, men do far less of such a “sorry” behavior.
“Men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior”
A much-referenced study by Schumann and Ross revealed that not only did women apologize more frequently than men, they also reported more offenses than men. “This finding suggests that men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” added the researchers. Sociologists are calling these “confidence killers” because not only are they needless, they are also useless. However, there are ways to tackle this with some practice and dedication. Try saying, thank you for waiting than sorry to keep you waiting. Green added, “Instead of saying ‘sorry for complaining’, you could say, ‘thanks for listening’. Think of thank you as positive self-promotion.” Also, women need to stop apologizing for their achievements, they must learn to own them and take these in their stride. While saying sorry is not the problem, it is a problem when you don’t know what you are saying sorry for. Now, isn’t that something to think about?
Image credit: TED Ideas – TED Talks