Last week, I wrote about how my mind has recently changed on the topics of people-pleasing, saying No, and protecting our time.
These are all things I’ve been working on for the past year as I run my own business. In order to sustain my health, wealth, and relationships, I have to set boundaries for how I expend my energy.
But where did this all begin for me?
In April. Here’s what happened.
After joining my online coaching program in March, in the span of one month, I was called out by four different colleagues for needlessly apologizing for things. I learned how hesitant I was to stand up for myself.
One of those colleagues was a woman who told me she decided to stop saying “Sorry” the month before.
I was struck by this. But it took me several months to understand how I felt about this philosophy. Well…here’s how I feel about it.
I tried it out for a month or two. To be honest, it felt fucking great.
The first thing I noticed was how automatic saying Sorry was. I would open my mouth to apologize for something I didn’t do or something I had no control over—a dog barking, a broken appliance, the fact that I wasn’t available for something. Catching myself, I would promptly close my mouth and that would be that.
No one got mad. No one seemed to be waiting for some sort of justification.
But then something happened which made me question the whole experiment: I fucked up.
I did something that made a friend upset and I felt awful about it. This highlighted my issue with the whole “I don’t say Sorry” thing…Humans make mistakes.
What happens when we do something worthy of an apology? Saying we don’t apologize is to assume we’re perfect creatures. I’m happy to have the words “I’m sorry” in my toolbelt.
So where’s the middle here?
For me, it’s not about not saying Sorry. It’s about not always saying Sorry.
If Sorry is our default then it means nothing. If we say Sorry five times in one minute then it means nothing. If we apologize for things we had no control over then what does it accomplish?
But if we instead save it for things that truly matter, our words and actions have more impact on the people around us. Now, my friends know I feel deeply sorry when I say so.
We don’t have to apologize for everything. We just have to be willing to apologize.