Do you find yourself saying I’m sorry all time?
I know I do. I catch myself saying it several times a day. It is a little phrase that has been on my mind a lot lately. It seems so over used that people don’t even hear it anymore. It used to be when you said ‘I’m sorry’ that you were apologizing for something you’d said or done that you felt bad about.
Now it seems to be a phrase that is thrown out there before we share a differing opinion or before we are going to say something hurtful. Kind of like we know we shouldn’t say it but feel the need so we are going to put a little modifier on there so we can get away with it and not take responsibility. Is it no wonder than when we are truly sorry people don’t believe it, listen to it or filter it out?
I decided to take some time and just ‘sit in it’. Meaning I decided to try and be aware of when I was saying ‘I’m sorry’, and to try and think about when I started using this as the beginning of a lot of my sentences. After spending a week or so trying to keep track I find that I usually don’t say ‘I’m sorry’, I say ‘I’m sorry but‘ so I use it more as a qualifier. I tend to say it when I have a differing opinion the most. As if it isn’t okay to have a differing opinion. After all, that should be normal, right? I don’t mean angry differing opinions but more like the “what about a different choice”, or “did you think about this option” or “I just don’t see it like that”. Occasionally I’ll use it when I have to deliver bad news, but most of the time it is one of the other times.
So that left some self-examination of when and why, I started using that phrase. (I’m a big believer in we need to find the root of things). It took a lot longer to come up with than I expected, but in the end I realized that I really started using it when I started working with someone who couldn’t be wrong. EVER. No one else was allowed to have a differing opinion or question anything. Unfortunately for me, I’m wired to question everything, so it was a problem. Over time if I questioned or had a difference of opinion that I happened to share I was treated to a variety of different punishments from low level passive aggressive behavior all the way up to that person flying into a screaming rage and full out verbal assault designed to destroy. When it got to the point where it was too damaging I made some changes so I didn’t have to interact with that person, but the ‘I’m sorry’ kind of stuck with me.
I just don’t think ‘I’m sorry’ is healthy, not in the way I was using it. I’ve noticed a lot lately that other people, particularly women, use this phrase a lot. And you know what, I just don’t like it. It makes me sad. This phrase needs to be something that is only said when we are truly sorry about something and we want to apologize for it. Not because we feel like everything we say should be an apology.
So if you find yourself reflecting and realize you too are saying ‘I’m sorry’ all the time then perhaps you might want to join me on this little quest of eliminating it from our vocabulary as a common saying. I’m going to start by putting a rubber band on my wrist and every time I think or say ‘I’m sorry’ I’m going to give myself a little snap. I’m also going to begin my morning with a little Bergamot on my wrists. After all it is the feel good in your own skin oil and I’m all about feeling good in my own skin; and I don’t think apologizing all the time feels good.