I am an over-apologizer. I will knock into a chair and say “I’m sorry”. It drives my family insane. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I need to reevaluate how I use the words “I’m sorry”. And that moment came when I heard my toddler say it to me, unprovoked, and as if she was inconveniencing me. “I’m sorry, mama” still rings through my ears…
I’m sorry, for me, is an expression I use when I find myself at all inconveniencing someone. Each time I hear myself utter, “I’m sorry”. Unfortunately, I know I am not alone because I’ve heard some Mamas do the same.
Why do we apologize excessively?
Well, I took to my Facebook page to ask exactly that question. Here are some of the responses;
- “Because I can’t stand if someone is upset with me or doesn’t like me for some reason. I will say sorry even if I didn’t do anything wrong.”
- “Conditioned response caused by years of dealing with passive aggressive people that never actually tell you what’s wrong.”
- “I hate to think that I disappointed someone. Sometimes I say it without even realizing I’m saying it. It’s like an automatic response.” (with that someone mentioned they were hurt when they apologized and the other person said nothing back!)
- “People pleasing syndrome.”
- “Too much empathy.”
- And finally… “It comes from having anxiety and depression in many cases. We go through the “what if” situations too often which can result in us over apologizing then.”
“When we needlessly apologize, we end up making ourselves small and diminish what we’re trying to express.” -Maja Jovanovic
From what I’ve read above and what I know, personally, to be true, over apologizing has a lot to do with *other* people and not ourselves.
In order to combat the excessive apologies, let’s take ownership of our words!
Instead of “I’m sorry I am in your way” it becomes “Excuse me.”.
Instead of “I’m sorry my house is a mess” it becomes “The dogs and toddler had fun today, huh!”
Instead of “I’m sorry I can’t attend….” It becomes “Thank you for thinking of me, but I have to decline.”
It is so imperative to use positive, meaningful phrases instead of saying “I’m sorry” all the time!
So, mama- stop apologizing! Let’s flip the script on constantly feeling like we are inconveniencing the world. WE. ARE. INCONVENIENCING. NO. ONE.
Your house is messy because someone stopped by unexpectedly? Not your problem!
You have to decline an invitation to something that you can’t or don’t want to attend? Hey, Mama! Guess what? We don’t have to fill our calendars up just because we have an opening!
And the chair? Yeah, that’s just over-doing it. (no judgement).