How useful is rethinking? Last year, I made a personal commitment to stop saying “I’m sorry” for things that should not require an apology. I found I used those two little words far more often than I should– and I finally made the connection to how detrimental it was to my self esteem. I’ve eliminated “I’m sorry” from the following situations in my life and it has resulted in a level of genuine happiness I was unable to experience before.
On the surface, these situations seem like obvious moments to forego saying, “I’m sorry.” However, it took the wise council of a friend to point many of them out to me, and I am not too proud to admit that her advice truly opened my eyes.
So, without further ado, the apologies that I will strive to never utter again:
“I’m sorry, but I just can’t deal with the drama you add to my life.”
Stop being sorry for distancing yourself from toxic people. This includes those you once thought were your best friends and even family members.
Grandparents that don’t make the effort to have a relationship with their grandkids. Parents who lie or emotionally, mentally, or physically abuse their children. If someone’s actions are becoming detrimental to your own well being, you do not have to feel bad about letting them go.
“I’m sorry that my physical appearance (tattoos, clothing, hair, etc) offends you.”
It is not the responsibility of a tattooed person to ignore your negativity. It is your responsibility to avoid making assumptions about other people based on decisions they made that have no impact on you or anyone else.
The same is true for the girl you think should not be wearing a bikini on the beach, the soccer mom who accidentally spilled coffee all over her white shirt on the way to the game, or even a bank teller with a mohawk. How a person looks doesn’t influence how they treat you, but even the best of us can crumble when we are greeted with criticism based on what others believe are flaws in our physical appearance.
“I’m sorry for changing my opinion or that my opinion is different from yours.”
Not always as cut and dry as it sounds, this apology often comes when faced by peers who once shared your opinion on a matter find out that you now support the opposing side. If you become an outcast because you made an informed decision to change your mind, then it’s time to make new friends who can be kind to you regardless of a difference in opinion.
“I’m sorry for everything, including my existence, that makes you uncomfortable.”
Many “modern” families include divorced parents, step siblings, and all kinds of unique situations that have the potential to be awkward for certain members of the family.
No one should have to apologize when the effort they make to build a relationship is never enough or for the jealousy that others feel when they have to share the spotlight for a few tiny moments. Apologizing for unintentionally being the face of someone’s insecurities is useless. Until they figure out to conquer their personal issues, you will waste so much energy trying to understand what you are doing wrong— when the answer may simply be that you are enabling a bully.
Apologies are powerful, and we certainly should not do away with them. Unfortunately, when they become a substitute for a real conversation or a way to deflect bullying, they lose any ability they ever had to heal the broken.
Ask yourself if you are truly sorry– if you have a reason to be, or if you “being sorry” is to justify someone’s inability to communicate and behave like an adult.