How To Finally Stop Apologizing For Taking Up Space

As college women, we are held to the highest standards of availability and hard work. While learning new skills, getting a degree, and advancing our careers is important, we need to make sure that this doesn’t come at the cost of our mental health. The first step to self-care is learning how to unapologetically take up space in a world that constantly tells us we’re nothing more than insignificant tools in the big, unstoppable machine of higher education.

  1. 1. Stop saying “Sorry!” and explaining yourself when you don’t mean it.

    Stop apologizing for not showing up to something and giving a list of reasons why you didn’t go. You have the right to not want to do something or to be unable to do something without explaining yourself to other people. You also deserve to be taken care of, so don’t apologize when other people look out for you.

  2. 2. Tell people what time works for you instead of asking them first.

    Before you ask someone else what time works best for them, ask yourself, “When is best for me?”.  Then, ask them if they’re okay with the time that you’re suggesting to meet up. You’ll avoid dozens of texts back and forth to figure out a time, and you’ll show the person you’re talking to that your time matters just as much as theirs does.

  3. 3. Take time off from your phone and responsibilities.

    If you have to schedule a time for self-care in your calendar, by all means, do it! During this time, turn off your phone and forget about what other people need from you. Ask yourself what you want at this moment and try making your own wishes come true for once! Make yourself that cup of tea and watch your favorite sitcom again. Close your eyes and lay on your bed in silence for twenty minutes. Let it all go.

  4. 4. Start saying “No, thank you.”

    Start politely saying no when someone asks you about attending a new club meeting, committing to more work shifts, or getting yet another cup of coffee with that person who you don’t really care about. If people aren’t understanding, they really weren’t worth your time in the first place! And remember, saying no to things that aren’t your priority will allow you to say yes to things you’re putting aside now.

  5. 5. Get out of toxic situations.

    Trust your gut instinct. If it’s telling you that the person in front of you has bad intentions, they most likely do. Get yourself out of the situation before it gets worse. Don’t assume that the person you’re dealing with is good-hearted and wants what’s best for you, because it’s not always the case. 

Time and attention is money. If you wouldn’t give $100 to a random organization that asked for it, don’t feel obligated to give an hour of your time to a club on campus that you don’t care about – and stop saying “sorry” for it. You matter. Repeat those words to yourself until they become your new manifesto.


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