BY NADIA BURKE
Have you ever stopped to notice all the apologies that are coming out of our mouths throughout the day? Granted, there are legitimate reasons behind some of them: spilled red wine on your best friend’s dress or forgot to pick up dog from the vet after 2 calls from the clinic. However, in many instances, “sorry” is just a word flying out into the universe before we can truly assess its necessity or genuine nature. So why are we so comfortable with making useless apologies? And what do we do about it?
The way I see it, fear is to blame. In the case of apologies, fear of rejection is the invisible force that takes control of our voice, before we can even think about the necessity of saying sorry. Apologetic words become our defense to avoid a chance of not being liked or of not being accepted. So how can each of us start to curb our enthusiasm for constant remorse? Here are my 5 suggestions, sans $100/hr therapy session:
- Become aware of all the apologies you offer though out the day. No need to do anything different in the beginning, just start noticing and counting. At night, when you’re examining newly formed or imaginary wrinkles in the bathroom mirror, take a pause and ask yourself an honest question: were all of those “sorrys” necessary?
- Go ahead and continue to question yourself: am I really sorry, or am I just saying it because (a) I don’t want to seem rude; (b) That’s what women are supposed to say; or (c) He is going to leave me! What really motivates you to be so damn sorry all the time?! Are all these reasons real or imaginary products of your fear?
- The following day, after your “come to Jesus” in the bathroom, make a deal with yourself. If you stay aware and say 3-less apologies, you will treat yourself to a cup of frozen yogurt at night.
- And how do you catch your overused “sorry” before it ever leaves your mouth? Just as you’re your first response to catching on fire: STOP! Find your inner courage to remain silent for a brief moment. Make sure your apology is coming from the right place. Let it be born out of genuine care and generosity.
- Lastly, most of the people who receive our automatic “sorrys” do not remember them at all. For them our apologies become white noise without any value. To this I say, let’s save the words for the moments when “sorry” is the only word that truly matters or the hardest one to say.
Let’s honor ourselves by becoming courageous and owning our intentions. Remember, you are of great value and so are your words. Use them wisely for the bettering of self and others.
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