I Think It’s Time To Stop Apologizing

You’d think we were born apologizing, it’s such a big part of our make-up.  But, we weren’t.  We were born with no apology.  No excuses for why we are who we are.  Apologies didn’t even feature in our frame of reference.  Why would we, magnificent creation that we are, apologise?  We were blissful in the knowledge that we are exactly who and what we were made to be.  Note:  I didn’t say we were perfect, I said we accepted ourselves as we are.

So, what changed?  Why do we go through life apologizing for every step that we take?  Where do we lose that self worth and instead find ourselves apologizing for not being what others want us to be?  How the bloody hell do we stop apologizing?!

Why Do We Feel We Should Apologize?

Let’s try to make sense of it all.  What makes ‘them’ better than you?  Why do the people in our lives need, or deserve, an apology from us?  Think about it.  We so readily dish out apologies for everything from how we dress to how we perform to how we speak, but never question why we feel the need to apologize.  Ask yourself, what makes them the authority?  Why do we always find ourselves needing to give reasons for how we live our lives?

It’s quite possible it comes from a good place.  We need to feel we belong, so we try to play nice.  We try to appease and impress and such like.  But, why do we let it go so far!  We let it become the snowball charging down the hill, headed directly for our own self esteem.  Every time we feel like we need to apologise for ourselves, the very essence of who we are, it’s like taking another snowball to that sensitive part of us we call the ego.  And the ego doesn’t do well when it’s bruised.

Where is it coming from?

It helps to remind ourselves that we are all projecting our own life experience onto each other.  What I mean by that is, take all the bitterness and anger with a pinch of salt.  People lash out at each other all the time but, more often than not, it’s about what they are going through and very little to do with the argument over the dirty dishes.  Or you, personally.

What does this have to do with you apologizing?  It’s a reminder that everyone is way more focused on their own lives and much less worried about you.  So, you should probably also stop worrying!  And, also, that we take everything to heart when it just isn’t always necessary.  Something small becomes something big and something big makes us feel we need to apologise.  Urgh!  Time to take a step back.


Where does this show up for you?

There are a hundred different reasons and a hundred different areas where people need to stop apologising, but here are some examples:

– Changing your mind about doing something ie. movies, dinner and feeling the need to apologise for your change of heart.  You’re allowed to change your mind.  Yes, you need to consider the time and feelings of the other people involved, ie. don’t tell someone when they’re already waiting in the cinema!  But, if you respect their them and handle it diplomatically, you do not need to apologize.

– Stop apologising for your emotions!  We do this all the time and it’s insane.  We are emotional beings and apologizing for being upset is another form of shutting them down and bottling them up.  It’s unhealthy, so stop!  It would be way better if, instead, you took the time to talk about how you are feeling.

– The state of your house.  Again, you’re measuring yourself against ‘them’.  Yes, it’s good to take pride in your home, but if you are doing the best you can then apologizing just makes you feel like you aren’t.  This one is so tough, I know, but we have to try to take some of the pressure off ourselves.

– You didn’t meet the deadline.  This is for those situations when the expectations are unrealistic and yet we find ourselves apologizing.  Don’t apologise, rather speak up and let them know it wasn’t achievable.

Use Your Voice

These examples show something clear.  We need to realize that we have a voice, and use it!  Your opinions matter, your feelings matter and your value matters.  It isn’t always the case but often we are apologizing for others taking us for granted.  Take a closer look at see if this pattern is showing up in your life.  Sometimes we become so bad at this that even bumping into someone by accident results in a repeated, heartfelt string of sorrys.  One is good, but see the problem in the desperate attempt to win someone back to your side after the unforgiveable blunder of an accidental bump!  You see where I’m going with this.

One of the common traits of people who apologise a lot is that of the peacekeeper.  The problem with the peacekeeper is they put everyone else’s peace above their own.  They do what they need to and shut up about their own needs.  Don’t let this be you.  Try to find a middle ground in life.  Standing up for yourself may be tough but it will show you respect yourself and will help your relationships in the long run.

Where Does it Stop?

So, my question to you is this.  When do you decide to stop apologizing for every little thing that knocks someone’s nose out of joint?  And, when do you decide that, hang on a second, my opinion counts too.  When you’ve been living your life this way, often without even realizing you do it, it will be a challenge to stop apologizing.  It has become who you are.  It will take conscious effort to observe your patterns and to reign yourself in when you make an unnecessary apology.

Once you’ve tuned in to your apology patterns you can think about how to approach these kinds of situations in the future.  Don’t say no to the movies, reframe it and say ‘I’d love to go, but tonight’s not a good night for me’.  To the people pleasers and the peacekeepers this sounds like a tall order, I know.  You’re thinking ‘they’ll think I’m fobbing them off’ or ‘they’ll never ask me again’, but people are way more forgiving than that and if they aren’t you have more to think about than apologizing to those particular people.

Always a Side Note

We always need to be careful to remember that where we have feelings, so do others.  What I mean by that is never use respecting yourself as an excuse to be hurtful to someone else.  Remember how it feels when you are not treated respectfully.  This is what makes the ‘peacekeeping apologizers’ a tough nut to crack.  All we want is peace, at any cost.  So, work out how that natural peacekeeping mindset of yours is going to approach standing up for yourself, without becoming someone you don’t want to be!

I believe that this can be achieved but we need to find our way back to our self worth.  We need to be true to ourselves and our peacekeeping ways but also know that we don’t need to apologize for anything that is simply a matter of personal preferences or capabilities.  Apologies are meant for hurtful moments, not for making excuses for you being you!  Stop apologizing for being human.  After all, we’re ALL just human and if everyone else isn’t apologizing for it, why should you!

Steph x

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