How to Stop Apologizing For Everything You Do

How to Stop Apologizing For Everything You Do

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We all like a quick fix.

When the mechanic says the issue is merely a loose bolt, the A.C. repairman says that it’s a small leak, or the nurse slaps on a band-aid, we let out a sigh of relief as we appreciate the convenience of avoiding an inconvenience. It can be a grueling torment and costly hassle to wrestle through a giant mess. And when it comes to relational conflict, some of us are so afraid of trudging through a mess we rely on our go-to means of a quick fix: “I’m sorry.”

Apologizing is a weak attempt at a quick fix. We hate to rock the boat so when we do, we wave the magic wand frantically while chanting, “I’m sorry!” with the unsureness of Ron Weasley. But, over-apologizing is not an admission of the heart–it’s fluff as useless as a magic wand. And, while, sometimes, “I’m sorry” needs to be said, most of the time, it is better to refrain.

How to Stop Apologizing For Everything You Do

When ‘I’m Sorry’ Needs To Be Said

Don’t weaken the words by using them needlessly. If we value the phrase, “I’m sorry” instead of flippantly tossing it out at every bump in the road like rotten candy in a sad parade, then we will be able to offer more genuine and meaningful apologies when they are actually called for.

Like an important mechanical project, sometimes the inconvenience of a messy conflict is what needs to happen to move forward healthily. You can’t just wave the magic wand and hope to move on. Trudge through dissension together, and quit trying to avoid it with the meaningless words of a poor attempt at a quick fix. Conflict often leads to deeper and more meaningful relationships so embrace the opportunity–don’t run away from it. Be wise enough to know when “I’m sorry” needs to be said, and say it with honest remorse and authentic reasoning. Value the words as well as the heart behind them. Own your mistakes.

When ‘I’m Sorry’ Doesn’t Need To Be Said

When it doesn’t need to be said, stop saying it! Doing so fuels your inner assumption that you are always wrong. If you can’t explain why you’re sorry than don’t say it at all as it will mean nothing to you or to your supposed victim. You will simply be feeding the monster in your head that says you are always wrong, bad, stupid, or inadequate with every “I’m sorry” you mutter.

So, instead of quick fixes, break the habit of over-apologizing. Try these practical tips.

1. Change your phone’s texting dictionary so that when you type the word “sorry,” it autocorrects to “why?.”

An extra moment of thought is the difference between a useless apology and a meaningful one.

2. Give your friend a dollar every time he/she catches you apologizing needlessly.

You’ll break the habit or the bank soon enough.

3. “I’m Sorry” is not a sentence.

Those two words should be the start of a sentiment, not a stand alone. Try instead saying, “I’m sorry for…[fill in the blank].” This helps to ensure you know your reasoning and will honor the receiver.

4. Replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you.”

Instead of saying, “I’m sorry I rocked the boat,” just say, “Thank you for stabilizing the boat and for being a reliable and caring friend.”

We all like a quick fix, but in the end saying “I’m sorry” is just not very helpful. It’s better to take care of something right than to do it quickly. Break the habit of over-apologizing, and keep in mind what P.G. Wodehouse said.

“It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort takes a mean advantage of them.”

So, I’m sorry if this article made you feel uncomfortable at all. Thank you for reading.

Doug Mains
A voice for silently-struggling men, Dadding Depressed is a resource for guys with mental illness and their supporters from a struggling new dad’s perspective. Living with depression and anxiety, I have noticed a need for male advocacy in online resources regarding mental health. I am a freelance writer equipped with honesty, perspective, and humor. As I personally learn how to better function as a new dad and a man dealing with the challenges of mental illness, it is my hope to be a voice for other men who are silently hurting. I live in East Lansing, Michigan with my gorgeous wife, Lindsey; my eight-month-old son, Isaiah; and our crazy Cockapoo, Wendell. Over the last five years, I have been on a challenging journey of unraveling my own mental health issues, rediscovering my value, and growing as a father and husband. I love good food, great beer, pretentious coffee, ping-pong, soccer, collecting vinyl records and hardcover editions of my favorite books.
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