Let’s talk about apologies, often we are not aware we are apologizing for no reason.
Apologies can be positive and have a place when intended to apologize for something you have done or not done or said. These are genuine and usually start with ‘sorry but …’.
However, so often do I hear apologies that are not reflecting a situation that needs one. A great example is when you nearly bump into someone turning a corner or entering a shop. No one is guilty of anything so there is no need to apologize! In this situation, the apology is a form of politeness, how would you respond next time? Smile and maybe ask if the other person is ok if you did indeed touch them.
I experienced a very funny situation where someone barely bumped into me and said sorry and I replied, ‘It’s ok’ to which she quickly responded, ‘Can I do it again’! We both laughed!
When my awareness around saying ‘I am sorry’ grew, I heard it so often and especially amongst women. I am still working on my consciousness around this.
Often apologies are used for politeness or give us time to think. As the apology is expressed, the brain is ticking, finding what next to say.
When and why do we say ‘Sorry’ too much?
When we care a lot about someone else’s feelings, we apologize even when we haven’t done anything wrong
Over-apologizing can also happen when the person apologizing is in a submissive position, be it real or perceived. It could be in a work relationship or with a partner or family member.
When wanting to keep the harmony in a relationship, it is easier to apologize than to be left with the feeling we have done something wrong.
When not confident and faced with someone who we may be in awe of and not feel adequate, we may apologize for anything that makes us feel lacking.
Social anxiety is where a person is afraid being judged, feeling inadequate or for saying something a little different. This reinforces the anxiety. To help you to not apologize in social situations, remember you do not need to explain yourself, or apologize, to anyone and everyone you meet. Apologies are used for what you do, not for who you are.
Power of words
Words have power and as soon as they are spoken, take a life of their own and the Universe listens. The word ‘sorry’ undermines you when there is no need for an apology.
Creating an awareness around the word helps when it comes ‘into your mouth’. Stop and ask yourself if you have done or said anything that warrants an apology.
We may not realize we often use ‘I am sorry’ as a ‘thinking cap’! Whilst saying it, we give ourselves time to think about what to say next, how to formulate and better express our thought. What about saying ‘there is this idea I wish to share’ or ‘let me put my finger on this’ instead?
When someone explains something, and you don’t understand or hear it all, instead of saying ‘I am sorry, could you repeat this’ we can say ‘I didn’t hear or understand xyz, could you please repeat it or explain it further’.
If you need more information about a task at work or further explanation from a teacher, there is no need to say ‘I am sorry, could you please etc.’ This can be turned into: ‘I don’t understand xyz, could you please explain this further’.
Your homework, and mine too, is to play with different words and sentences. Feel the weight of each as you say them. The energy is different, it comes across as stronger and assertive, not submissive. This has a positive impact on communication in general.