Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why do women do this?

I was at band last night (I play clarinet in a concert band) and we were working on a new piece. One of the women who sits near me was having a bit of trouble with a particular section at first but then got it figured out. Shortly after she got it, the conductor went through that section again, and a group of people in the back completely lost track of the correct speed and basically made up their own.

This, of course, made the piece sound like a bunch of instruments falling down the stairs instead of anything musical, and the conductor raised both arms to cover his face in an "it's exploding!" kind of gesture.

And the woman near me, who'd played her part perfectly, calls out, "Sorry!"

One of the topics I have already worked into books and plan to focus on more directly in the future is this tendency of women to assume things are their fault when they are clearly not. It drives me insane to see good strong women belittling themselves:

  • "Yeah, I'm doing the best I can at work, but my boss isn't happy and I keep beating myself up over that, trying to figure out what the boss wants that I'm not providing."

  • "I exercise and eat right at all times but I don't lose weight, so I'm a failure."
    (Gee, Heather, sound familiar??)

  • "My husband/boyfriend/whatever isn't perfectly happy and I must make him so, no matter what it does to me, and I'm wrong because I haven't made that happen yet."
My friend at band was NOT at fault for the problem. And frankly, even if she had been, there was no need to apologize. That's what rehearsals are for: to fix the problems.

When something truly IS your fault, of course it's fine to apologize. But if you're spending time and energy analyzing everyone else's reactions to everything you do and struggling to solve their problems even when you're not sure those problems have anything to do with you, perhaps that time and energy could be better spent on things that matter to you.

Ironically, I find myself wanting to end this with a "I hope this doesn't offend you" message. But I won't. :)

Have a great day, folks, and do at least one good thing for yourself today!


Kit Courteney said...

Oooooooooh, I agree!

My mother is an extremely strong and totally wonderful woman, but EVERYTHING is her fault (in her eyes).

Drives me nuts.

I'm probably the same, though!

Anonymous said...

I agree as well.

Jennifer said...

You're totally right. We're trained to do this. Very frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I sometimes say I'm sorry not because I think it's my fault but because it diffuses and calms the situation and shows my sympathy for whoever is affected- I realized we are trained to that too but it's actually one of the ways women help keep life civilized- it's only negative if you really do think it's your fault.

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