It seems these days that we apologize for absolutely everything, even when it makes no sense to apologize. Have you noticed this? Some things make sense to apologize for: spilling you food all over your your friend’s carpet, hurting your partner’s feelings, or accidentally locking your cat down in the basement all day while you’ve been at work (guilty!) Other times, apologies are excessive and unnecessary, like saying “Sorry I spilled all over myself!” (right though?!) I mean, #sorrynotsorry is an actual hashtag that we use all the time. It is ingrained in us to apologize even when it isn’t warranted.
Let’s be real, friends. Have you ever uttered words like “sorry I’m so emotional,” when you actually meant to say “I’m sorry I yelled at you”? Or even better: “Thank you for being patient with me”? It’s time that we stop saying sorry for who we are as a person, and start saying thank you instead.Stop apologizing for who you are and start being grateful instead. Click To Tweet
Why You Should Stop Saying Sorry (and What to Say Instead)
When you say sorry for who you are, it does two things: it A. damages your self-worth, and B. damages your relationships.
Saying Sorry Damages your Self-Worth
Each time you over-apologize, it impacts the way you feel about yourself. Friends, our words are so powerful, and our brains are sponges that thrive on repetition. So every time you say “Sorry I’m so dramatic,” or “Sorry I’m such a horrible person,” your brain starts to believe it, and you start to feel ashamed.
[Related: Mindfulness for Self-Confidence]
Saying Sorry Damages your Relationships
Real talk: I remember once while I was working in retail, a guest accidentally knocked a bunch of clothes off some hangers, and who apologized? My coworker. Even though it had absolutely nothing to do with her. And I still remember that years later because it colored my perception of her. I was now worried that she would feel bad for my actions and I felt like I needed to walk on eggshells around her as to not make her feel bad. When people apologize for things that don’t need an apology, or they apologize for who they are as a person, it can make others feel uncomfortable. And thus continues the cycle of guilt (Saying sorry, getting a strange reaction, feeling ashamed, apologizing, etc.)
[Related: How to Fearlessly Handle Confrontation]
Stop saying Sorry and Say Thank You Instead
If you’ve been following along with me, you probably know already that ya girl’s a big fan of gratitude! [ICYMI: The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude] Saying “thank you” has so many amazing effects. It helps you be less angry and depressed, improves self-esteem, strengthens relationships, and can even positively affect your physical health.
When you say “thank you,” it causes you to focus on the important things in life. Practicing gratitude helps you to recognize how much good is in your life, rather than paying attention to all the negatives. It helps you to recognize the good in you too!
When you tell someone “thank you,” it makes them feel appreciated and valued. It is less likely to cause conflict than apologizing. It improves others’ perceptions of you.
Say This, Not That
Next time you feel the urge to apologize, try saying “thank you” instead. Use these examples to inspire you.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I was late.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for waiting for me.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I am always so busy.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for being flexible.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I’m so dramatic.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for accepting me for who I am.
X Instead of saying: Sorry for venting.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for listening to me.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I put extra work on you.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for helping me out.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I am so complicated.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for understanding me.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I am so boring.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for spending time with me.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I am so negative.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for being a safe person to talk to.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I’m sad all the time.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for helping me feel better.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I’m not good enough.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for helping me become a better person.
X Instead of saying: Sorry I suck.
✓ Say this instead: Thank you for loving me even when I don’t love myself.
Have you tried to stop saying sorry and started saying “thank you” instead? What happened? Let me know!