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May 18, 2015

Sorry, Not Sorry: How to Break your Apology Addiction.

sorry apology oops sidewalk outside graffiti heart

Has someone ever knocked into you on the sidewalk or the grocery store and you were the one to apologize?

I used to do this all the time. I spent most of my teens and twenties apologizing for my very existence. Thankfully I had some strong role models and gifted teachers to lift me up into my full deserving power. I learned to meditate, which also aided in snuffing my apology addiction pretty quickly. Many of us have varying degrees of the apology problem, and it shows up in a lot of different ways.

A few months back, my friend invited me over for dinner. She told me to come at seven and bring my favorite bottle of wine. She told me she would be preparing a special meal—she’d been dying to test out a new recipe and thought I was the perfect guinea pig.

I arrived promptly at 7pm, excited to try some delicious new cuisine that my friend prepared with so much love. She invited me in and opened the entirely-too-expensive-for-a-screw-top wine that I brought. The timer went off, and when she brought out the food, she placed it down on the table and immediately said:

I’m so sorry. This just didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. I’m sure it’s terrible. It’s okay—you can tell me if it’s terrible, I won’t be offended. I’m not really much of a chef anyway.”

Kind of off-putting, right? I remember suddenly feeling a strange sense of obligation to pacify my friend’s feelings.

Whether it’s dinner for a friend, a presentation at work, a new self-titled memoir or a new company—when we create something we are, by definition, bringing something from the un-manifest into the manifest. We’re stepping into the unknown. And that can totally be scary, leading to a less than elegant plague of self-consciousness and doubt in ourselves. We often end up apologizing for our work, our choices and even our very existence when someone bumps into us in the grocery store.

Here’s the reality: when faced with a deadline, important project or creative challenge, none of us feel like we have enough time or enough resources and I don’t know one creative person who has birthed something and then dropped the internal mic. Most of us are constantly striving for the next best way to execute. Which is great! But that doesn’t give you permission to apologize for your work. It is disrespectful to the recipient of the apology. Please don’t preface your future unveilings (of any kind) with every tiny flaw. The things you are judging as less than perfect we may not even see.

So here’s a challenge for you:

For one whole week, challenge yourself not to apologize for your work. Find a special place in a journal, or even in your handy smartphone, where you can tally or keep track of when you unnecessarily apologize and catch yourself after.

We have to figure out a way to stop apologizing and step into the most confident version of ourselves. We have to work passionately on whatever the task at hand is, and really truly do the best that we can so that we can present with confidence and call it a day. How? By cultivating a level of surrender and ease through which we perform.

Alright friends: One week! If you’d like to join in on our #zivaCHALLENGE, find Ziva on Facebook or Tweet at me and tell me how your journey to a new confident You goes.

Be sure to hashtag #zivaCHALLENGE.

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Author: Emily Fletcher

Editor: Alli Sarazen

Photo: David Goehring/Flickr

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Emily Fletcher