When at parties, I always pull the French Exit. Even if the party is at my house, I will sneak into my bedroom without wishing anyone farewell. In the entrepreneurial sphere, I’d like to introduce a French Entrance.
French Entrance. n. Excusing yourself from social interaction, taking time to heal, and returning to the space with truth, sans apology. It’s a gentle, soft hearted way to Rise.
The regular thing I do is apologize. I say sorry A LOT.
Apologies are a pain point for me. The phrase “I’m sorry” is concerning because of the words “I am.” I AM is possibly the most powerful phrase in the Universe. To add sorry to the end of that is as if I am apologizing for my own existence.
I wondered how many times I said I’m sorry throughout the day, so I conducted some flimsy research. Two hours in, and I had enough data.
In 120 minutes, I apologized seventeen times. In those two hours, I did nothing to warrant apologizing to anyone except for one instance. I simultaneously broke Vega’s heart and nearly crushed her with my militant marching on our walk. Nine times out of ten, I was saying sorry for shit that I didn’t need to be sorry for.
My initial analysis was to question myself and apply shame to the fact that in the simplest of exchanges I was insecure. What does this mean? What is wrong with me? What mantras will help with this?
I’d like to tell you that I cleaned up my act and got right with my self worth, quit saying sorry all the damn time, and found that unicorn sweet spot between confidence and softness.
I didn’t. A few days went by and I was right back to my old ways: apologizing for my existence to complete strangers, my boyfriend, and a studio owner. “Oh, I am so sorry!” “The breakfast casserole is okay. I’m worried that it’s gonna taste weird. Sorry I forgot to pick up green onions.” “I’m sick. I’m so sorry to be an inconvenience!”
What is self improvement? Wherever you are on the ‘woke’ continuum, you start to notice things you didn’t before. At the beginning of my journey, it was like a veil was lifted and I lived in the Upside Down. From that discomfort, I got curious. What else do I not know? Seekers seek. We ask questions. That’s what we do. If we read nonfiction like it is our life force, do some activities in a workbook, go on retreat, drink in nature, and/or attend yoga class and sweat our asses off—what is it all for if we hang up our improved self at the door? Only to return to old habits, routines that contain the rubbish we want to release.
Doing vs. Being
The imbalance in my life goes back to masculine and feminine. Living in a masculine-heavy world resulted in overworking, busying myself and wearing it like a badge of honor. I was a master at ignoring my body, self care, and feelings. On the up-side, I was a winner, an efficient, fast, and eager worker when “playing the game” and “hustling.” I crushed normal. But it crushed my spirit to the point of major depression.
Instead of sucking it up, engaging a stiff upper lip, going in for the fight, and holding in tears—I did the opposite of all those things. And it felt weird as hell. But I continued on my path anyway. I retreated and tended to my heart. Somehow, a gentle, soft heart Wins. I began with journaling. Poetry of pain and love and the unknown flowed through my favorite pen. Sutras once forgotten — remembered like dear friends. Through yoga and meditation, I dove into feelings I avoided for years. I cried. I cried more. I asked for help from loved ones. I rooted in my truth.
In this softness and vulnerability, I saw with clarity that my apologetic approach to everyone around me was a result of my inner tyrant telling me I wasn’t good enough.
This is where the story really begins.
Stay tuned for part two. You don’t want to miss it. I’ll share the practices that help me unravel deeply ingrained habits at their root.