Warning: This post has zero to do with house cleaning…. and I am not going to apologize for that! (I almost did!) It is very personal and deep. It’s been on my mind and I just felt it needed to come out. I hope that someone can benefit from it. I am no therapist and I may be all kinds of off base, but these are just my thoughts.
“Stop saying you’re sorry.” “Stop apologizing.” I’ve been hearing a lot of that and reading it on social media and the like. Apparently, women are notoriously bad about saying “I’m sorry” for every little thing, whether they have any responsibility for it or not. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a gender thing or if women are just more vocal about things in general.
I one hundred percent believe you should apologize for things that you did wrong. Absolutely!
Saying “I’m sorry” for things you had no control over implies guilt. It’s false guilt but guilt just the same. Your mind can’t tell the difference.
Those of us who over apologize are very aware that what we are “sorry” for is not really our fault. We are seeking to “fix things”.
The more you accept guilt the more your mind believes it. Your self-worth suffers. Your confidence diminishes. You might be the nicest kindest person in the world, and you probably are! But you start to believe you aren’t. There is a lot of conflict that goes on inside. You want to be a good person but good people don’t do all these things that we are constantly apologizing for.
Just as good affirmations work, so do bad ones. You can’t be “sorry” for everything without your consciousness believing that you are at fault.
It is a double-edged sword. You say “I’m sorry” because you really are a good person but it makes you feel as if you are not.
So how do we change? For many, probably most of us, it’s not just a habit. Changing this “habit” is about as easy as changing your eye color! I believe you need to know the why behind the behavior to change it.
I did some serious soul searching. I am sure there are many reasons that people over-apologize. We are all different. We’ve all had different upbringings. The basic reason behind it is about the same though.
When you say you are sorry, you are taking responsibility for the action, situation, etc. meaning you now own it. Only when you own it can you take any control over it.
The fear of others being angry, unhappy or upset is what drives over apologetic people to say “I’m sorry” all over the place.
If something goes wrong, and I say “I’m so sorry” (even though I had nothing to do with it) I am accepting blame so that you don’t have to. That way you don’t need to be angry at yourself or someone else. Now I own it and can try to fix or smooth out the situation so that all will be well. None of this is really truly valid but it is the subconscious, if not the conscious thought process.
It boils down to fear of other people’s anger or perceived anger and the desire for control of a situation to avoid anxiety.
Ultimately, it is a very self-destructive, which is ironic considering that it is a defense mechanism.
I am going to work on positive affirmations to repair what I’ve done with the destructive behavior. I am going to let others be responsible for their own feelings and situations.
Thank you for allowing me to share and I hope that it helps you to stop next time you start to say “I am sorry” and think, “am I responsible for this?”.