Around the world, studies have shown that women apologize more often than men. This is not a total shocker for me. Do you find yourself apologizing about anything and everything, or do you know someone who does? I can guarantee that you are in one of those categories. Oftentimes we apologize for things we can’t even control, like a bad habit without thinking. Don’t apologize, especially to me, when you haven’t done anything wrong because I’ll be the first to say, “Stop apologizing.” You might have gotten a reaction from me, “Why are you sorry?” when you say, “I am sorry,” for any reason. My intention for saying this would be to help you realize that now is the time to stop.
Don’t get me wrong here, there are legitimate reasons to, in fact, be sorry, apologize, and admit your wrongdoings to another person. Owning your fault is not a negative. Apologizing is about acknowledgment. But now is the time to stop apologizing for things you cannot control. While saying, “I’m sorry” can be powerful in certain situations, saying “sorry” like a broken record needs to be a thing of the past. I used to be so guilty of this. Now I’m sorry you are always sorry! Like, what are you even sorry for? Time to stop the “I’m sorry” cycle.
For example, once I told a friend that I was sorry for being sick and needing to miss her child’s birthday party. My sweet friend told me, “Apologies are for when you hurt someone. You don’t need to apologize for being sick.” I’m so thankful that she helped me reframe my overall perspective and mindset.
When we screw up and hurt someone, usually the best type of apology involves one of changed behavior. So, before apologizing, the dialogue in your head may go something like this: What am I saying “sorry” for? Do I mean it? Now my new mindset includes this: Or am I acting small for someone else’s comfort?
Saying “sorry” is important, however, for some people who suffer from anxiety or those who are people-pleasers or a recovering over-apologizer may constantly feel the need to always say that they are sorry even when something isn’t their fault or is beyond something they can control. Instead of saying sorry, with intention, I say “Thank you for waiting for me” if I’m 30 seconds late for a lunch meeting. Thank you shows gratitude to the other person and acknowledges that you respect their time. It really is okay to admit your fault and show appreciation to the person you may have inconvenienced. Maybe using “I desire” would be more effective as it allows you and the other person to discuss what you want to happen next. And both people feel like their side was not only important but heard, and it allows each to feel accountable to take the first step toward resolution of the problem.
While I am in no way perfect, in this journey I have found that if you can apologize without saying “I’m sorry” or “I apologize,” it can be more effective. I have also found that apologizing for bothering someone is annoying and pointless when you have to ask a question or give an opinion that assists you in better performing your duties. So, try simply waiting for a pause to ask the question instead of saying, “Sorry!” and then asking the question.
Saying “I’m sorry” when sorry is needed has given me inner peace as I am no longer putting myself down and constantly apologizing for what is beyond my control. I now accept and realize that I am not responsible for everything happening around me. Saying sorry only when warranted or necessary has taken away anxiety I was enduring for things that I should have not worried about. Like, what is the point of apologizing for taking a business call when my kids are in the background? Kids are kids and the expectation for them to be quiet is one that is not realistic when they aren’t sleeping.
Do you find yourself apologizing unnecessarily? Comment below with any other tips you may have!