Girls Write Out
Friday, December 04, 2009
This post may make absolutely no sense to you whatsoever, because it's based on a pet peeve of mine. Maybe because I was raised by a mother who never had any self esteem that I even notice such things:

I was in a public restroom the other day when a door came open and a pretty young woman came out and apologized to me.

"For what?" I asked.

"I took too long. You had to wait."

I frowned and shook my head as she washed her hands and left. I didn't get it. She has as much right to the facilities as I did. Neither of us owned that restroom. So why did she feel the need to apologize to me?

I was shopping recently and turned the corner around a stack of cute jeans at the same time another woman did.

"Oh, I'm so very sorry," she said as we both deftly avoided collision.

After a simple "Excuse me," I turned and watched her walk away, confused. Since when did, "I'm sorry," become a substitute word for, "Excuse me"? These two phrases don't mean the same thing at all.

When someone apologizes to me for being in the same place at the same time in a store, it's as if she believes she less right to exist than I do. Yes, maybe I'm splitting hairs, but still, it bothers me. Excusing oneself politely when discovering oneself on a collision course with another is simple human graciousness. Requesting forgiveness--"I'm so sorry"-- for existing on this earth speaks to me of deeper problems--of feeling unnecessary, of feeling worthless. I've noticed apologies such as these much more often as I've grown older. Maybe "I'm sorry" is the new "excuse me." Or maybe the writer in me is made curious by this special mark of women believing they have no right to be where they are. I can understand what she's feeling, because there are times I feel the same way--such as when we stay at a posh Branson timeshare. I was raised poor, and I keep expecting someone to come up to me when I'm walking through the grounds or swimming in the pool and telling me I don't belong there, even though I know I paid my timeshare dues.

Do you ever find yourself apologizing for your very existence? Stop it! You are a child of God, made in His image. You were created to live on this earth, to be here in this time in history. You are special, loved, and where God wants you to be--unless you're sinning right this moment, which is something we'll have to talk about later. ;-) Stop apologizing.
Hannah Alexander  
posted at 12:32 AM  
  Comments (15)
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At 1:18 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

You'd hate me. I apologize 24/7.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

While excuse me and I’m sorry may not mean quite the same thing, they are similar terms. Why would we ask someone to excuse us or pardon us if we weren’t guilty of somthing? I suppose the real difference between excuse me and I’m sorry is that excuse me implies that the other person sees us as guilty while I’m sorry implies that we see ourselves as guilty. Of course, most of the time, we just say these things as a polite acknowledgement of the other person.

But there is another issue here. You raise the question of self-esteem and who has more right to be in a particular place at any given time. If we go by what the Bible says, the other person has more right, whoever that person is. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3) I see absolutely nothing wrong with another woman doing the right thing and treating you as if you are more important than she is. The polite thing to do is to accept that preferential treatment graciously, but maybe that is the hardest thing of all.

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Barb said...

My sister wrote about our value on her blog. Just in case you are interested in her thoughts, I've included the link.

I have been reading Philippians alot lately and I noticed something in Phil. 2:5 that adds to the the previous post. "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." To me that is saying that I do not have to disregard my interests completely, just that I need to serve others first.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Okay, as I recover from an attack of utter embarrassment upon discovery that there has been a man receiving the girlie posts I've been sending out the past few weeks--is that really a Timothy?--I'm thinking again about these comments. First of all, no more girl talk on my watch!! LOL

No, Kris, i wouldn't hate you, because you would notice I apologize, as well. The Bible warns us never to think of oneself more highly than we ought, or to take the best seats in the synagogue. We should never vaunt ourselves above others.

We should also consider the needs and views of others above our own. That certainly doesn't mean that everyone else is always right and i'm always wrong when there's a disagreement, however. And I'm not sure these women who apologize to me in the store are always Christians simply following the Biblical admonitions to put others first. Maybe they are. Maybe next time I should ask them.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Great post, Cheryl. I use "Sorry?" sometimes when I don't hear what someone says.

Slightly off topic, but have you noticed how "Here you go" is the new "Thank you" at the drive thru?

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Yes, i've noticed that, Denise. What's that all about? Nobody taught them salesmanship?

Of course, as a young adult, I remember working at KFC, and I was expected to welcome everyone who entered with this long, sappy, ridiculous memorized greeting that stuck to my tongue every time. Not because I didn't want to welcome people, but because a memorized greeting seemed so fake.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Leticia said...

I tend to overuse sorry as well. I guess it is just habit.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I find it is with me, too, Leticia, and I just wonder why. I want to kick myself when I say "sorry" instead of "excuse me." It's possible that this hangup of mine comes from knowing someone once who never apologized. It wasn't in his vocabulary, although he certainly expected it to be in everyone else's. It may be at that time that I issued a memo to self that I would no longer cower and apologize for my existence.

Or maybe I'm just picky. LOL

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Beverly said...


I think this is interesting .... and I think it is a challenge to know how to be healthy emotionally and spiritually in our culture. On one hand, we study Beth Moore's Esther study and want to be the courageous, warrior Princess of God; and on the other hand, imitate our Savior who emptied Himself. I believe that coming to believe that we are image bearers of God, as you said, goes a long way in helping us have inner strength and truth, and from there, we can better respond with the appropriate words for the situation.

All that said, your post was timely, and the Lord used it to help me think through something today!

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I'm so glad, Beverly. I'm still thinking about it, and I realize that without an honest view of ourselves and our place in God's plan, we can really miss out. I don't want to be so convinced that I'm not worthy that I don't find the strength to do what I'm intended to do for God. False modesty can be a problem. Kind of hard to tell between that and true, Biblical modesty. But I need to just trust that God can do with me what He wishes, and can give me the power and ability He wants me to have to get the job done.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

In this day and age, I'd be glad the woman said, "I'm sorry," instead of "Get out of my way." :-)

I use "I'm sorry" all the time, and I mean it when I say it. I'm not apologizing for my existence, but rather I'm sorry if I inconvenienced someone or whatever.

Sorry, Cheryl. :-)

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

LOL, Diann. It's okay. I love you just as you are.

At 5:51 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

I do that all the time.

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Cheri said...

You really got me with this one! No matter who does something, I say I'm sorry. Someone is critical, I apologize, something doesn't work out as it was supposed to, I say "I'm so sorry". No matter what goes wrong, I apologize.

You are right. I do have low self esteem due to many things and feel I have to 'smooth over the waters' anytime there is a problem or disagreement or tension in the room.

Once my daughter while she was in the hospital, kept yelling at me and I kept saying I was sorry. I was exhausted beyond belief. The nurse turned to us and said "YOU stop yelling at your mom and YOU mom, stop saying you are sorry".!

That got my attention. Everything is not my fault and I can't fix everything either. I have tried hard since then to be more careful in my instant reactions to uncomfortable situations. God is still working with me on this!

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Yay, Cheri! Common sense tells me that you do what you can when you can to do the right thing. So why apologize? I'm not saying to get the big head--Oh, YEAH, AS IF!!!!--I'm just saying, accept yourself as God created you, and be glad for the person you are, special and cherished by Him--not someone who should apologize for existing. That just ain't right!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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