Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about apologizing for your appearance. I talked about the many ways we apologize for our looks and our bodies, with our words and actions.

For years — and to an extent today — I’ve struggled with an apology addiction. I’d say I was sorry if someone bumped into me, if I had a question, if I had a difference of opinion, if I spoke out of turn.

But more often than not I’d also apologize for my appearance. I wouldn’t explicitly say “I’m sorry for my weight” or “I’m sorry for my looks.” But my behavior would ooze with apology.

Maybe yours did or does, too. Maybe you also don’t specifically utter “I’m sorry,” but your actions scream it.

Maybe you dress differently because you don’t want to offend anyone with your shape or size. I used to do that. I used to worry that I was too big to wear certain colors — like white — or certain cuts — like form-fitting dresses, shorter shorts and bikinis.

Maybe you don’t go to the gym because you’re worried about taking up space on the machines (or in the classes). I used to worry that because I wasn’t very active, I was stealing someone else’s spot. You know, someone else who was actually fit and not an impostor like me.

Maybe you try a variety of things to lose weight like dieting and pounding the pavement because you don’t want to upset someone — society, a spouse, a family member.

Maybe you apologize by bashing your body in front of others or curbing your portions when you’re out.

Maybe you apologize by never saying no, and letting others cross your boundaries and walk all over you. I used to think that because I wasn’t very pretty or thin, I didn’t deserve respect.

Maybe you apologize by not pampering yourself or not practicing self-care at all. (Been there so. many. times.)

Last week Gala also wrote a post about apologizing — and why she — and we — shouldn’t be sorry. She says:

Drop the apologies. Don’t apologise for simply EXISTING. That is ridiculous! Let’s make a pact that we will only say sorry when we really, truly mean it; not in place of “excuse me”, or “no”, or anything else.

YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. Never be ashamed of that. Own it! Love it! You only have one life.

In her post, Gala includes a very empowering activity to help us drop our apologizing ways. It consists of two steps:

(By the way, let me just say that this activity wasn’t easy for me. My default has always been self-doubt. Always. Remember I’m the one who has an apology addiction. But I found it helpful to just push through and actually stand up for myself. Even if it’s in my own head. If you’re finding this tough, keep asking yourself why that is. Maybe once you get to the root of the problem, you can start working through it. And if this activity doesn’t come naturally, that’s totally OK. Just give it a try, and keep coming back to it when you like.)

1. List all the things you refuse to apologize for.

For instance, my list would include:

  • I’m not going to apologize for enjoying eating.
  • I’m not going to apologize for wearing what I love, even though years ago, I would’ve wondered if I was “thin enough.”
  • I’m not going to apologize for liking my body.
  • I’m not going to apologize for my long hair. (For a long time, I felt like I shouldn’t have long hair because my hair is naturally fine and probably looks better short. But I’ve realized that I love my long locks. And I don’t care what someone else thinks about how I should wear my hair.)
  • I’m not going to apologize for having a different opinion or perspective.
  • I’m not going to apologize for being imperfect.
  • I’m not going to apologize for the person that I am.

2. Create a list of “I am” statements. 

For instance, my list would include:

  • I am smart.
  • I am hard-working.
  • I am creative.
  • I am funny.
  • I am caring.
  • I am beautiful in my own happily unique way.

Again, you can find more inspiration in Gala’s post.

(Thanks to Susannah for including a link to Gala’s post in her awesome weekly round-ups. That’s how I found it.)

What do you refuse to apologize for? What are some of your “I am” statements? Please share below!