Here’s what I think: Most of us apologize at the wrong occasions.
“Sorry I had to change our meeting.”
“My computer keeps crashing. I’m sorry.”
It drives me nuts! We coat any comfortable situation with “I’m sorry” like a silicon spray that’s supposed to remove friction. Apology needs power if it’s going to work. Trotting out the words “I’m sorry” every day stretches their meaning. It wears them out. Don’t ruin Apology with a convenient habit.
Instead, summon up a little Gratitude. Gratitude can provide a much needed shift of energy when you need someone to cut you slack.
Someone taught me something very simple I like to share.
Try changing “I’m sorry”
to “Thank you.”
The above scenarios would sound like this:
“Thank you for your flexibility with the schedule.”
‘Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for understanding that computers mostly suck.”
Serial apologists have an autopilot problem, a habit that needs disrupting. How about letting the words “I’m sorry,” become a trigger. Every time you hear yourself say them pause and reflect: is Gratitude available for this occasion? Probably so. Try it out. See how it goes. Reference examples above.
Some folks say Gratitude as a regular practice makes you happier.† I can buy that, and I’ll suggest that when Apology is given it’s true power, the whole world heals a little. It takes guts to be vulnerable and own up to the shit you shat on someone and face the consequences of their pain. It’s true Love baby— Apology that is— when it’s real.
† Dr. Emmons, Professor at UC Davis studies the psychology of gratitude and the psychology of personal goals, and how each is related to positive psychological processes, including happiness, well-being, and personality integration.