I feel like I should apologize for not writing more over the summer. I had a ton of ideas floating around for various blog posts, but life caught up with me. Having a baby near the end of the spring semester and adjusting to life at home with three kids, three dogs and a husband can make one a little tired from time to time.
During my maternity leave, I had some time to read, think, reflect and go through various posts/videos I saw on social media. Those 2 a.m. feedings sometimes keep me up and my mind just won’t stop.
I found a video, rather, a TED Talk about the word “sorry.”
Needlessly apologizing…are you guilty of it? Do you use the word “sorry” a lot?
My eleven-soon-to-be-tweleve-year-old does. He uses the word sorry every day. If he wakes up a little late, he says, “sorry.” If he doesn’t finish a meal, he says, “sorry.” Accidentally bumps into you, steps on a dog paw, he’s sorry.
So what if you are sorry for “causing trouble,” or sorry for “spilling something”?
Maja Jovanovic, a Canadian sociologist, believes “the sorry’s we sprinkle through our days hurt us. They make us appear smaller and more timid than we really are, and they can undercut our confidence.”
Needing more confidence? I am here for that.
An interesting take on the way we can diminish ourselves, our accomplishments, our achievements, Jovanovic suggests “apologies have become our habitual way of communicating.” I think we overuse the word from time to time in our house, but I also think that word is a cover, a front, a way for us to apologize for something that we did, something that is okay, something that is not bad or harmful.
At an academic conference, Jovanovic remembers seeing a panel of four women, experts in their field, published, well-known, ready to make introductions and she heard them start to apologizing for being there…
Academics sometimes are not the most charismatic of speakers as Maja points out, but all four women apologized, discounted their accomplishments, miminized their work, and she realized women were apologizing left and right (and men were not).
Is there another word for sorry?
Is there another way to introduce, talk about our accomplishments, our work, or our lives?
There sure is.
The video for Jovanovic’s TED Talk is listed below, and let me tell you, GIRL CAN DRESS AND SPEAK TO A CROWD.
There are times in my life where I have felt sorry, I have diminished my work, my talents, and I have felt imposter syndrome like you wouldn’t believe.
And there are times when I feel my confidence soar. In the classroom when a lesson clicks with my students. Yes! Good day!
And instead of sorry for cutting it close I can change my words. I can change the way I think.
Compliments can be hard to take. Yet, there are times where I can dismiss or toss praise or a pat on the back to the side–because, you know, I’m “sorry,” or it could have been a mistake. I have actually said “I am not sure I should be here” in a group of academics.
Change is hard. This semester, this year, I am committed to changing the way that I talk and that I respond.
I think the world might be a better place if we pay attention to how we respond to certain situations and how we present ourselves with our eye contact and body language.
Here’s Maja’s talk. Take a few minutes to watch/listen. I did. And I learned so. much.
We are all worth it.