Do you have the 'sorry' reflex? Barbie — yes, that Barbie — has some advice.

Did you know Barbie has a vlog? Until today, I didn't.

Since June 2015, the Mattel collectable icon has posted a bi-weekly blog to her (I'm not quite sure what pronouns to use for the video version of a doll, so I'll just go with "she" and "her" for the sake of simplicity) YouTube page. In the 60 episodes since, she's discussed meditation, how to deal with bullies, what to do when "jokes" go too far, empowerment, sadness, and being assertive.

I. Had. No. Idea. This. Existed.


Seriously, you should check out a few of those episodes; they're great.

"Thank you for watching my vlog." All GIFs from Barbie/Facebook.

The latest video is one that a lot of us, kids and adults, can probably relate to: the "sorry reflex."

Do you find yourself apologizing when you didn't do anything wrong? If somebody bumps into you, do you ever find yourself reflexively responding, "Sorry?" Or have you ever apologized for a normal reaction to something that made you happy, sad, or excited? That's what Barbie talks about in this video.

"'Sorry' is a learned reflex, and every time we do it, we take away from our self-confidence!"

Does it seem like girls and women apologize more than boys and men? On average, they do.

A small but widely shared 2010 study published in Psychological Science found that women had a tendency to say "sorry" more often than men. It's not that women do more that require an apology; they simply have a different threshold for what they think warrants one. The study, backed up by a 2015 YouGov study and others, didn't find any sort of genetic explanation for this difference. Instead, the theory states, this has to do with socialization and a world that undermines female ambition.

Many of society's signals are subtle and likely unintentional, but they build up over time. Kids are pretty perceptive about these things. Take for example the story of 12-year-old Julianne Speyer, who wrote a letter to her local paper's editor pointing out that the announcer at her town's Fourth of July parade "labeled the Boy Scouts as 'future leaders of America,' and he said the Girls Scouts were 'just having fun.'" Over time, these statements become internalized, leading girls to feel subconsciously guilty about dreaming big and resulting in the "sorry" reflex.

"I think there's a bigger issue around 'sorry.' Especially with girls. We say it a lot."

There are a few things — and this is good advice for children and adults — you can do to help break the "sorry" reflex.

Barbie offers viewers a challenge: For one day, anytime you'd normally say "sorry," try saying "thank you," instead. For example, if you're feeling sad and would have normally said "Sorry, I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps today," try saying "Thank you for understanding that I feel a bit blue today."

Dr. Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, urges parents and children to be mindful of starting sentences with apologies ("Sorry, but...") or using language that hedges on your own confidence ("This is probably a dumb question, but..." "I could be wrong, but..." "Excuse me, but..." and so on) because those instinctive responses can quickly become habits.

This isn't to say that people shouldn't ever apologize. We all make mistakes or do things that we should apologize for. The goal is to save our "sorrys" for those moments.

Watch Barbie's "'Sorry' Reflex" vlog below.

Sorry Reflex | Barbie Vlog | Episode 60

Do you and your little ones say “sorry” as a reflex, without even thinking about it? Many people do! #Barbie challenges you to change the dynamic and say “thank you” instead of apologizing. Are you up for the challenge? 💖

Posted by Barbie on Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

On February 19, 2020, a group of outdoor adventurists took a 25-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During the trip, they had no cell service and no contact with the outside world. When they ended they ended their journey on March 14, the man who pulled them ashore asked if they had been in touch with anyone else. When the rafters said no, the man sighed, then launched into an explanation of how the globe had been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and everything had come to a screeching halt.

The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

The rafters' story was shared in the New York Times last spring, but they're not the only ones to have had such an experience.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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