Repurposing “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry”

In Read or Overheard on August 12, 2011 by Edelweiss Tagged: ,

I haven’t read Love Story and I saw the movie when I was too young to understand it. Therefore I only know this quote out of context, but it has always driven me crazy.

As a stubborn little lady, sometimes I think my greatest acts of love to Walrus are being humble enough to acknowledge I was wrong and apologize for it (on those rare moments I’m wrong!).

I’ve just decided to repurpose the quote into a context that makes sense to me and can help rewrite the narrative of our gender.

Love (of yourself) means never having to say you’re sorry.

I read a very thoughtful post about women and body image written by Liz at Happy Sighs today. In the comments Maggie wrote (among other things) “I dislike the fact that women tend to bond over griping about their looks. ” That nailed it for me. As woman we so often use discussing our flaws, insecurities and disappointments as our social currency. It’s our way of saying “Hey! I’m not conceited, I’m approachable, and we have stuff in common.” We initiate female relationships by apologizing for who we are and what we don’t offer. This isn’t always true, but it’s certainly frequent. (note how I just backed off my own definitive statement).

Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe ran a series awhile back about the gender pay gap and her personal experiences with it.* One of the concepts she explored was that when women negotiate they apologize. We apologize for asking for things, we apologize for taking people’s time, we apologize by basing our increases around our needs instead of our worth.

I’m hugely guilty of this. In work, in my family, in my personal life, on the street when I bump into someone and it’s their fault. If I’m not saying I’m sorry directly, my words and my actions are often rooted in where I am wrong and not where I am right and awesome. This isn’t always true, but it’s certainly frequent.

Imagine a world where women build themselves and each other up by supporting all the unique wonderful things about themselves. A world in which women connect to each other because of their strengths and help each other grow where they have the most potential. There can be power in conversations in popular media that highlight the great things we do and female role models do as opposed to eating disorders, partying problems, and ditzy statements.

I’m not gonna change the national discussion, but I can impact the discussions in my immediate circle. I’m old enough now to love myself, and I do. I’m repurposing the quote to remind myself to drop the habits that were rooted in an insecure me and sashay boldly forward.

Love (of yourself) means never having to say you’re sorry.

*She also wrote a book about it, but I didn’t read that.


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