I’m sooooo sorry.
Sometimes we use these phrases to avoid conflict and offset potential anger: “I’m sorry to bother you but…”. We think this helps keep the peace and ensures that people will continue to like us when this actually creates an imbalance in our relationships because we are putting ourselves in a submissive position. Or maybe we’re so eager to foster cooperation and community that we apologize just so we can move on. What we’re really saying is that our honesty takes a back seat to getting along.
The common denominator here is that we’re giving away our power, freely and willingly. When we apologize inappropriately the implicit message is that there’s something wrong with us and that we don’t know what we need. We somehow don’t measure up. When we do this often enough it becomes our truth.
So what’s the remedy? We need to say what we mean, without apology. Instead of “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you”, try, “Would you repeat that, please?” Feel the difference?
We need to apologize only when it is necessary. Like when we hurt or disappoint someone. And we need to stop using “sorry” as conversational filler or when we have no control over what happened.
There are great gifts waiting when we stop over-apologizing: improved self-respect and self-awareness, and more honest relationships with others.
Now It’s Your Turn
Pay attention to how often you apologize and stop and reflect on why you’ve said, “I’m sorry” or any of its variations. Was the “I’m sorry” was necessary or was it habit? If not, how could you have rephrased the apology so that it became a statement of what you needed?