(I Ching, Abundance 55)

I was in the co-op yesterday getting some bulk items, and there was a young mother at the herb station talking to her small child. I overheard her say, “You don’t have to say you are sorry for that, that isn’t the right way to use that phrase.”

I was struck with the present moment awareness and connection that this young woman had with her daughter.

A couple of years ago, I was in the library studying my Human Design information when I heard a woman sneeze a few times while she was working in the coffee shop portion of the library.

Every time she sneezed, she would say, “I’m sorry.”.

I felt my body tense up and I became angry.

Why was she apologizing for her sneezing? It’s a bodily function that is uncontrollable. It’s called being human.

I’m sorry?

No…as women, we do not need to be sorry for breathing, sneezing and generally taking our rightful place here on earth.

After I left the library that day, I went to the grocery to grab some things for the weekend.

I was in the liquor section of the store, staring at the big selection of beer trying to figure out where Shayne’s Session IPA was hiding.

A woman walked in front of me while I was staring at the beer wall and she said, “I’m sorry.”

My stomach lurched.

As she continued to walk down the aisle, she stopped, and turned around and said,

“Why did I say I’m sorry? I should have just said ‘excuse me’.”

I nodded.

“Yes, that was all that would have been required, if that…”

And she turned around and continued on her way.

Yesterday, I walked up to the young mother and thanked her for allowing me to witness her teaching moment to her baby daughter.

She replied, “My grandmother taught me that…she taught me to know when to say “I’m sorry,” and when not to. So many women unconsciously apologize for their existence, you know?”

Yes, I know.

And she went on to say that her generation is interested in freedom. Real freedom.

They want to rid themselves of the shackles that victimization ensures to keep those with a ‘sorry’ attitude enslaved.

Often, when I meet someone, I listen to what they say.

I mean, REALLY listen to the words they use.

Do they complain a lot? Do they cast themselves as the perpetual victim of life?

Do they blame others or things for their lot in life?

Do they say “I’m sorry,” all of the time? Do they say it to move on and not examine what it even is that they are sorry for?

When I meet someone like this, I understand I’m dealing with a prisoner. They are imprisoned and most of the time, they don’t even know they are locked up.

That young mother yesterday understood on a very deep level that casting yourself as the perpetual victim is the pathway to your own personal prison.

Watch how many times you reach for “I’m sorry,” today when it isn’t called for.

Become aware of it…contemplate it.

What are you sorry for? Why are you so sorry?

When you identify as a victim…well, that’s the only movie you get to watch.

Yuck.

This simple understanding can radically change your life.

Say I’m Sorry when you have hurt someone, or in empathy with them over a loss of some sort.

If you hurt someone, either knowingly or unknowingly, change your behavior if its warranted; sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.

Know the difference.

But don’t say I’m Sorry when you are merely taking up the space required to live your life.

Or you want to gloss over a disagreement where true change needs to happen, and you just want things to feel ok again.

I’m Sorry, and your use of it,  is a key to finding your personal freedom and walking towards an abundant and joyful life.

Blessings…