The Sabotaging Downside of Apology
Can you overdo apologies? YES! Should you stop apologizing? Maybe!
Nothing can replace a good and heartfelt “I’m sorry” when you’ve made a mistake, done something wrong or hurt someone’s feelings. It can go a long way in healing a hurt or a relationship.
But when the “I’m sorry” comes out of your mouth ten times a day, for insignificant things, it’s nothing more than a “rote apology.” It can be “I’m sorry” or “excuse me” or “forgive me” or anything that you say just because you say it, not because you mean it. An apology by rote is one that is automatic, unthinking, and mechanical – and it’s meaningless to others.
At the same time, while others ignore it, it’s never meaningless to you. Every time a “rote apology” pops out of your mouth, it’s hurts you at the soul level. It’s a constant reminder to you, by you, that you are always wrong or always making mistakes. It’s you telling yourself you aren’t good enough. You’re undermining your power and sabotaging your efforts.
Maybe you’ve gotten so much in the habit of apologizing that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. I challenge you to try the rubber band method of self-awareness: Take a common rubber band and put it around your wrist. Every time you apologize for something…I’m sorry, excuse me, I apologize, etc…snap the rubber band. Do it for a week. Keep track of how many times you said you were sorry for something valid and how many times you said it by rote.
If most of your apologies were thought-less habits, apologies by rote, figure out why you do it. Then, STOP IT.
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