STOP being Sorry!
Stop over-apologizing. You’re doing it too much, and honestly, you’re doing it over things you can’t even control. It might sound friendly, agreeable, and compassionate, but what you are communicating to the world is that you are disempowered, lack control, accept responsibilities for failures of others, have a low self-esteem, and possibly have a limited vocabulary.
Reread the very last part of the previous sentence. “…have a limited vocabulary.” Think about it. It’s true. Usually when you say “I’m sorry” you’re intending another meaning. It’s a fall-back phrase that rolls off our tongues without engaging our brain to decipher our true meaning.
There are ways to stop apologizing unnecessarily.
- Pause. My mother used to say “Start your brain before engaging your mouth.” When you feel yourself begin to apologize, pause and examine what you’re really trying to communicate.
- Understand Your Tendencies. Listen to your conversations over a week’s time, and journal the instances in which you’re apologizing. That way you’ll know what triggers you to say it, and you can be more prepared to accurately express your intentions.
- Communicate Compassionately. Express your love, gratitude, or sorrow with appropriate words. If your friend has the flu, instead of saying “I’m sorry,” which goes without saying (of course you don’t want him to be sick!) you could rephrase, “Oh, I understand… being sick is the worst. Let me know if I can drop some soup by on your doorstep!” (…and don’t be sorry that you aren’t coming in because you don’t want him to expose you to the flu!)
- Exercise Gratitude. If someone helps you, instead of apologizing for needing help, thank them! Exercise gratitude in the instances of using apologies as thanks. It makes a lot more sense.
- Question with Confidence. Having questions is part of life. Stop apologizing for needing clarification. You’re human, and there’s no reason to be sorry about that.
- Stand Up For Yourself. Sometimes bullies (bosses, co-workers, frenemies, acquaintances) come on so strong that softer personalities feel the need to shrink away and take responsibility for someone else’s mess. Don’t apologize for them, or for yourself if you’re not meeting unspoken expectations.
- Understanding Misunderstandings. You’re understanding when someone else misunderstands you, so it’s fair to expect the same from others. No need to apologize.
Effective communication is extremely important in life, and especially in business. It’s one of the things a great coach can help you develop. I’d love to talk it through with you. Shoot me an email and let’s set up a time: firstname.lastname@example.org.