Growing up in Africa, in a cultural setting where you are raised to care and appreciate everything around you. To say please and thank you, and if you step on someone\’s toes or someone hurts themselves around you, you say sorry. That is the norm for the yoruba tribe. If you do not do these things, you are considered uncaring, rude or badly raised.
In Europe, if you bump into someone in the workplace and ask \”Are you alright?\” job is done. If someone trips or hurts themselves around you, and you say sorry. What you get next is, it is not your fault.
Some things are good in the right environment they are created for or where they are being used. Habit of saying sorry turned me into apologizing all the time which is sometimes misconstrued as feeling guilty. I am indeed guilty of not adapting my language into the society I have lived in for over a decade. I am guilty of being an apologist by cultural default. Unfortunately, sometimes you get taken for granted because it appears I have pleaded guilty to a sin that was not even available to be committed.
I however do not apologize for who I am. This is because, I absolutely and totally love me, with all my faults and failings, with my body and bones and all that is me and so I share one of my favorite poems with you today and hope you love yourself as much as I do me.
I AM ME
In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me
Everything that comes out of me is authentically me
Because I alone chose it – I own everything about me
My body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions,
Whether they be to others or to myself – I own my fantasies,
My dreams, my hopes, my fears – I own all my triumphs and
Successes, all my failures and mistakes Because I own all of
Me, I can become intimately acquainted with me – by so doing
I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts – I know
There are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other
Aspects that I do not know – but as long as I am
Friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously
And hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles
And for ways to find out more about me – However I
Look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever
I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically
Me – If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought
And felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is
Unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that
Which I discarded – I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be
Productive to make sense and order out of the world of
People and things outside of me – I own me, and
therefore I can engineer me – I am me and
I AM OKAY
© Virginia Satir, 1975.
Found in Virginia Satir, Self Esteem, Celestial Arts: California, 1975.
And you hold the key!!