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Learning to unlearn

October 14, 2016

unlearnOn our last podcasting episode for This Christian Life (listen to here) we talked about the things in our lives we wanted to unlearn. Things that were holding us back or hindering us from being our best selves.

For example, I said I wanted to unlearn referring to myself and other adult women as ‘girls’ because for me personally, in certain contexts it undermines my womanhood especially as due to exceptionally good genes, I happen to look at least 15 years younger than I am and I’m constantly battling people’s perceptions that I’m a young girl rather than an adult woman approaching 40. Flattering as it may be at times, it is frustrating to be patronised because people think I’m younger than I am and more so when I unconsciously respond or behave as though it were true.

Thinking more about the things I could unlearn, I thought of my habit of apologising when I don’t need to. One of my good friends, very kindly corrects me on this as it’s such a part of my everyday language and I don’t think I’m alone in this. When I think of the times I’m saying sorry it’s usually because someone has bumped into me or I’m about to say something that possibly the other person won’t like. Why the hell am I apologising for other people’s responses and reactions? After all nine times out of ten, people aren’t saying sorry to me for no good reason.

When I think about it, it’s almost like I’m apologising for existing in the same space as others. It takes me back to when I was growing up and a series of incidents pretty much ‘taught’ me to be quiet, to make myself smaller and not be seen or heard. To be visible was to risk ridicule, or rebuke or something else entirely. Unconsciously, I’ve taken this on into adulthood. When I first started this blog, I deliberately kept it anonymous and wouldn’t have dreamed of posting my picture for fear of what people would think about my writing – not that I have that many followers. But now I’m not worried, my opinions are mine hold, mine to share and mine to change if I so want. I don’t have to apologise for making myself heard, unless I actually want to. So here’s to unlearning being sorry when I’m not actually sorry.

 

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From → Life, Women

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