A couple years ago, I came across an article (or was it a viral tweet?) about how women apologize for everything, all the time. I can’t speak for all women but it’s true for me. I started catching myself apologizing even when I had done nothing wrong.
One huge reason to stop apologizing for everything is: not everything is your fault.
I work at a tv station, in a department mostly dominated by men. Speaking from experience, I deal with a few select men interrupting, ignoring, and/or underestimating me in the most subtle ways (and sometimes not so subtle). They may not even know they’re doing it, but they are.
It’s sad that there are people who are obsessed with the need to always be right and always be heard even if it means interrupting others just so they can get their own words in. Everyone’s voice is important and no one should be getting stepped on for any reason.
From the moment I read that article, I was on a personal mission to stop myself from saying “sorry” for everything. It was a lot worse that I had imagined.
The words, “I’m sorry” would just come out of my mouth with no real warning. My first instinct was to apologize and not take the time to consider who’s fault it actually was.
This was a huge problem.
I had been throwing around the “sorry” word like there was no tomorrow. Someone would bump into me in the hall and I’d be the one regretting it and saying sorry when THEY bumped into ME. The crazy part was when they’d turn and say “it’s ok”…
But it’s a lot bigger than apologizing for bumping into someone. It’s about blaming yourself when someone else makes a mistake. No matter who you are, you shouldn’t naturally have the need to apologize for something you didn’t do. It shouldn’t feel natural to apologize when something goes wrong due to someone else’s actions.
Why do some of us like to take blame so quickly and so easily?
So because of this, I was committed to trying to stop and I’m happy to say, a couple years later with lots of hard work, I finally stopped.
It’s nice to say that I seldom apologize.
Believe it or not, I’m also human so I will make mistakes and I will be wrong.
However, my sorry-for-no-reason count has gone way down and now when I say it, I actually mean it. And I hope those on the receiving end know that I mean it.
There are plenty of articles, research and books on the subject but I’ve become so much more confident in myself just by coming across some article years back (maybe it WAS a tweet, come to think of it…) telling me to stop apologizing so much.
So, here’s what I do instead of apologizing when I shouldn’t be:
I do and say nothing because there’s nothing to do or say. If it’s somebody else’s fault, I’m not going to say anything and there’s nothing left more me to do. When I don’t say anything, the moment of silence is usually filled with their rightful apology. (Is this like some form of reverse psychology or something?)
I’ve also replaced saying “I’m sorry” in a lot of other social interactions and situations. For example, if I misunderstood someone at work, I don’t apologize but explain why I misunderstood them instead. It wasn’t my fault that they didn’t communicate properly so I’m not going to apologize. I explain what I understood from them and they end up apologizing to me for the miscommunication on their part. It’s that simple.
Apologizing is no longer a habit.
No one should feel regret for somebody else’s mistakes. From the tiniest to the biggest, it doesn’t matter. Those tiny faults add up and before you know it, you’re at fault all the time and that’s just not fair.
I wrote this because I keep hearing people around me over-apologizing and I hope someone out there can learn the same way I did. In my opinion, it’s a terrible habit and it’s not healthy for your self-confidence.
Speaking of terrible habits, check out my list of healthier habits I’m currently working on: Developing Better Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle
Apologizing less has turned me into a more confident woman, a more confident person, especially in a room full of men. Whether this is a feminist issue or not, don’t take blame when it isn’t yours to take. Stand up for yourself by being confident and don’t let others belittle you by pushing blame onto you. Even worse, pushing blame onto yourself.
Thanks for reading, let me know how you’ve mastered the art of not over-apologizing!