“Life is far too precious to spend another day at war with yourself.” Zita
Sorry. Saying sorry is the appropriate response in certain instances and the power of the word to heal or console when appropriately applied is tremendous. It is nevertheless important to know and understand the difference between when an apology is required and when it is not. It is beneficial to say sorry when someone receives sad or difficult news or when your actions have made life really difficult for someone else. Other than that sorry is one of the most frequently inappropriately used words in the English vernacular.
Here are a few pointers on how to stop apologising for the good of all.
Pay attention to who you tend to apologise to. Are there certain people who undermine your confidence, or who leave you feeling as if you are always wrong? In such situations, you are actually giving someone else permission to think and believe that they are more important than you.
Pay attention to when you are starting to apologise. Our own habits are often hard to spot because they are usually automatic and we are only semi-conscious of patterns we fall into and the things we tend to say. If you notice that you repeatedly find yourself saying sorry for someone else’s mistakes or saying sorry to stop an argument or end a challenging situation that makes you feel uncomfortable then it is probably time to apply some personal discipline and correct this pattern of behaviour.
It can be helpful to look for the roots, or the need, you are covering up. For example, perhaps an authority figure (parent, teacher, older sibling, etc) used to get angry if you didn’t just “shut up” or take the blame. Alternatively, it may be that you feel you can’t really honestly and openly share the way you feel – so you apologise as a means to suppress or repress your true emotions.
Keeping in mind the points made previously it would be useful to consider the longterm effects of how your need to apologise will effect you further down the line. The constant need to apologise as a way to manage current issues may lead to a build up of grievances which can have grave consequences for your relationships, you may start to pull back from those you love and shut off your true feelings, this ultimately damages the feelings of good will and is harmful to the other person who is denied the opportunity to acknowledge your true feelings and honour your vulnerability. Speak up, denying your feelings with apologising is tantamount to apologising for your existence, if that is how you feel then I suggest you seek the help of a professional counsellor or therapist who you can discuss the issues at hand.
Make a constructive decision to establish and enforce your own set of boundaries. Practise the art of saying “No” to others – without also saying “Sorry”!
If you struggle with issues of esteem, low self-worth or have difficulty creating and setting boundaries, Life Therapy can offer you the support you need. Please feel free to email or call I am happy to answer any questions you may have. 07709046643