5 different times the other day, I noticed friends and I challenged by doing what we know is right in our hearts and resorting to zombie apologies. These hollow offerings usually come from a place of kindness, but how kind are we being to ourselves while apologizing for the way we live?
Happy to say I also witnessed the opposite, where confidently leading by example squashes any need to feel even artificially bad about it.
Crew is realizing they don’t need to apologize for owning a home. A simple space to work and live. A sanctuary to recharge and do the dope stuff they love to do. They are so compassionate and giving it’s been challenging to get to this point, to realize this space is deserved and OK. To recognize this space as how they’ll be able to keep being their best self for the work they do in the community.
Friends who they would usually spend weekends helping with projects and don’t have time for right now offer hype and support when they hear the news. They want to reciprocate the years and years of selfless love.
Crew doesn’t need to apologize for laying low and being off the radar for a bit. For staying mostly of social media. For concentrating on their mental health. It’s a pandemic, they bought a house this year after years of searching, and are finishing learning a skill they love in school. These are choices to be proud of, and it’s OK to openly own them. They are different choices than being more visible but one isn’t better than the other.
A phone call talking with crew about unconsciously dropping apologies in emails. Catching ourselves replying with a “Sorry for the delay” when an email is 5 hours old. Working against wack norms and expectations like believing our response must be late and we should be sorry for that. Our time is no less valuable than the person on the other end of the email. Instead, we can offer a thoughtful, confident reply even days later, leading by example and being part of the movement to remove this expectation.
I’ve been trying to turn zombie apologies into gratitude.
A good bud invites me on bike rides, camping trips, park hangs, and hikes. I rarely go. Right now I’m focussed on my art, house, fam, and repping for laying low during COVID — especially having experienced the reality of COVID in our house. I’m also trying to make sure these aren’t excuses, but trusting them as heartfelt decisions I can own fully.
He doesn’t get on my case for laying low and I’m always grateful for the invites. I wanted to acknowledge him without apologizing so I sent this text. It was one of those texts that had been on the brain for a while and it felt good to finally send. Like most things that get overly built up in our heads, sending it felt great and their response was full of love and hype.
How to kill a zombie apology.
My wife confidently lives by example. She didn’t apologize for recognizing in me a pattern of speech having an impact I didn’t intend. She thoughtfully and plainly let me know. It wasn’t easy to hear. I’m feeling grateful to be in a relationship where this type of honest growth is expected and encouraged. Part of that is being OK with sitting with it in the fire. Unapologetically learning.
Where can we get in front of our zombie apologies and catch ourselves before falling into unconsciously offering one up?
Where do we unintentionally cater to a culture of unwarranted apologizing?
We can skip being sorry for leaning into the explicit, experience-based choices we make to be us. It might be awkward for a half-second when we don’t go the regular route, but we might inspire the person on the other end to think about doing the same, and we’ll definitely feel better not questioning who we are.