4 Reasons You Should Stop Saying Sorry All The Time
How many times per day do you find yourself apologizing to people? Try to think about every single “sorry” that comes out of your mouth on an average day.
First on the way into work, when your hand lightly bumps a stranger’s, then perhaps when you go to speak with a coworker or your boss about something, “Sorry to bother you John…”, and then again in the elevator as the door begins to close and must be held for you.
The list goes on and on, most of us finding that we probably say “sorry” at least 10 or 15 times every single day.
Why is this such a deeply ingrained habit for so many of us?
One theory explains that in our modern culture, the concept of rudeness is so loathsome to us, particularly for women, that we feel a deep seated need to excuse ourselves, to disclaim any possible rudeness before it even takes place.
We also do this as a quick and easy way to express humility or submissiveness to another. Sometimes we say it simply to avoid any and all conflict in the most basic and convenient way.
Here are 4 reasons explaining why we persistent and possibly compulsive apologizers should stop saying sorry all the time, maybe even all together.
1. It degrades the value of a real apology.
Apologizing can be a powerful thing. It can mend friendships and show a willingness to be humbled and admit wrongdoing when applied properly.
But when we go around constantly apologizing for every tiny inconvenience we come across, it becomes a simple force of habit and loses all of it’s meaning and sincerity.
You shouldn’t be saying sorry for things that are clearly not under your control or not your fault.
Express your frustration, sadness, or empathy in a different, more specific way when these things happen.
It will be more genuine and your apologies will still hold enough value in the future to be taken seriously.
2. It devalues us as people when we apologize for everything.
People tend to think of apologies as a sign of humility. We see someone who doesn’t apologize for their negative behaviors or actions as prideful and selfish.
However, if we begin throwing apologies around when they aren’t really necessary or warranted, we show others that we lack self confidence and respect.
No one should be willing to throw themselves under the bus or be the scapegoat for someone else.
There’s just no need to be the person who takes responsibility for everyone else’s blunders. If the mistake is not yours, the apology shouldn’t be either.
You are worth more than that, and when the situation arises in which you might be expected to shoulder undue blame, remember so.
3. It’s a band-aid, not a cure.
While it can be nice to hear an apology from someone at times, and might help change the tone of a conflict in some small way, “sorry” is not a solution.
It might be helpful and sometimes it’s important, but it isn’t going to fix a difficult situation and it shouldn’t be the first or only priority.
Don’t let the apology distract you from the search for a real solution to the problem. You won’t find resolution or closure with only a word.
4. It leaves a bad impression.
Most people don’t realize exactly how much of an effect the language we use on a daily basis has on our self and public image.
When a person spends their day walking around the workplace constantly saying sorry, their colleagues begin to see them just that way – As a sorry sort of person, lacking confidence, self assurance and basic skills.
It gives the impression that you’re always making a mistake or contributing something difficult and negative to the situation.
Look at it as a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you say sorry enough, it will permeate even your own self image and you will begin to question your thoughts, actions and decisions more and more until you are that worried, fumbling person your coworkers thought you were.
So what can we do?
Challenge yourself not to say sorry for one 24 hour long period.
Of course this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apologize when you’re truly at fault for something, but try to assess each instance as it arises and consider fully whether or not you actually should be sorry.
I think you’ll find you’ve got a lot less to apologize for than you expected.
For times when you feel it can’t be avoided, try using different more individualized phrases such as:
- “Pardon me/Beg your pardon…”
- “I understand…”
- “I regret…”
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Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives