What is the real reasons we apologise too much? When you ask for help, or something doesn’t go to plan, and it’s not your fault, why do you always say sorry? Saying “I’m sorry,” especially when you’re not at fault, is an automatic response and chances are you’ve probably said it a handful of times this week. If you look back through emails and text messages, how many times do you actually say sorry even when it’s not your fault, or when nobody has done anything wrong.
Telling someone not to think or feel something, is the best way to get them to think or feel it. If I tell you not to think of pink spots, what springs to mind, or if I said, I’m sorry the sound isn’t very good today, what would you immediately focus on?
Well apologising can have the same effect, because when you claim accountability for everything that isn’t perceived as perfect, whether your fault or not, all you are doing is promoting your weaknesss or flaws, and that not only encourages other people to take you less seriously, it also justifies putting yourself down.
Watch this video as today, Let’s Talk about the real reasons we apologise too much
In the UK we apologise for everything from sneezing to just asking for help, we say sorry to every person we pass, especially if we have the accidental brushing of shoulders as we manoeuvre our way around a busy shop, it’s deemed as manners and a show of politeness, but apologising for being held up in traffic, or saying sorry for bothering your boss when you have an important question, not only raises questions about your own self esteem, it also places you in an inferior position, as it has the tendency, to make others, think less of you.
People lose respect for you in the same way as they do if you over compliment. If you’re constantly telling somebody that they’re wonderful and have done an amazing job, they tend to disbelieve the sentiment behind your words, and saying sorry all the time has the same effect, you may think you’re displaying yourself as a nice and caring person, but you’re actually sending the message that you lack confidence and sincerity.
And there is another downside to this constant need to apologise, and that is, that the recipient finds it really annoying. They know that you are only trying to be nice, but it get’s exhausting and I’m sure you’re witnessed someone, if not you, being told to stop saying sorry all the time” only to get the response “I’m sorry”
There has been quite a lot of research on the psychology of apologies, and the impact on mental state of both the people apologising and those being apologised to, and one of the primary reasons for people to apologise was anxiety, it’s that immediate and involuntary need to say sorry without any thought of the situation or levels of accountability, in other words, saying sorry at every opportunity has very little to do with feelings of remorse.
The main reason people say sorry is to avoid conflict, especially if they were raised around violence. Growing up with parents who are constantly fighting, or screaming at you leads to feelings of rejection, self blame and anxiety, so saying sorry is all about diffusing potential conflict by accepting responsibility, in order to feel safe.
But accepting responsibility however can lead to the belief that everything is your fault. If you are with friends, family or your partner and they all appear to have perfect lives, whatever happens or goes wrong, must be your fault. This can be anything from making dinner and the meat is slightly overcooked, to booking a summer holiday and it rains all week, it’s about feeling accountable for not only your success and happiness, but everyone else’s too. You don’t want the other person to feel bad, you want them to be happy, and to like you, so you say sorry even when it had nothing to do with you.
You see, offering an apology is a way of ending further discussion, which reduces potential hurt and fear that they may walk away. But these are all warning signs that you are measuring your self worth from pleasing others. The refusal to at least engage in any conversation and saying sorry for everything just because it makes for an easier life, shows not only an ‘easy going personality’ but someone who is happy and willing to accept blame, and is therefore an easy target for toxic relationships
If you want to start apologising less frequently, it will take lots of effort and practice, but the first step is simply to be more self aware of how often you apologise and willingly place yourself at fault. Try to hold back and carefully observe a situation before immediately blurting our the words “I’m sorry.” Try thinking of different way to acknowledge what is happening, maybe someone comments on a mistake you have made so instead of saying sorry, say “thanks for letting me know” or maybe you’re in a crowded room and someone is impatiently trying to push their way through, try saying, “Here, let me get out of your way.”
No matter how much we may syke ourselves up, saying no is harder than it seems, but there are ways to say decline an invitation without having to say sorry for something that requires no apology. Rather than saying “Oh I’m so sorry but I can’t,” try saying “that would have been lovely, but I already have plans.” That way you are placing ourself on a positive level.
Remember emotions don’t disappear, they fester, so not facing up to your true inner feelings, leads to repressed anger and can often mean troubles later in life, such as a mid life crisis, so here are 10 things that you need to stop apologising for.
1 Never say sorry for spending time on yourself, and putting yourself first. If it’s important to you then it is important. The people who matter will respect your choice.
2 Never say that you are sorry for letting go of someone who hurts you. Understanding that an unhealthy relationship is holding you back from reaching your full potential is a huge step forward. Be proud and surround yourself with people who celebrate your courage.
3 Never apologise for your imperfections. as it’s the imperfections that make you unique and special. Never say you’re sorry for a quality that makes you imperfectly perfect.
4 Never say you are sorry for defending your values, morals, ethics, religious or spiritual beliefs. There is no need to apologise for doing what you feel is right.
5 Never say you’re sorry for not knowing the answer. Life is about learning so when presented with an opportunity to learn, being able to admit you do not know is a sign of strength and humility.
6 Never apologize for Spending your money on yourself. Buying yourself something nice improves your self esteem. You have worked hard and you deserve to see the rewards.
7 Never apologise for someone else, Everyone is responsible for their own actions and behaviour. You do not need to apologise for something someone else did or said, even if you feel their actions reflect upon you through association.
8 Never Apologise for a Delay in Your Response. Successful people understand that prioritising sometimes means a delay in responding to emails and phone calls. Never apologise for not putting someone’s email or text on a back burner while you take care of more important things.
9 Never Apologize for Telling the Truth. Strong people tell the truth so never apologize for being strong. Even if the truth hurts, the benefits of honesty far outweigh the consequences of a lie.
10 Never Apologize for Bad Dancing. Just dance! The joy that dancing brings is worth more than any level embarrassment.
Saying ‘sorry’ isn’t always bad as apologies encourage forgiveness, repair relationships and dissolve hostility. But they aren’t easy to come by and require more than just saying “I’m sorry”: The person apologising must go the extra mile and express genuine remorse or offer to make amends. So only apologise only when you really mean it. The rest of the time, find better language to express what you truly mean.