December 15, 2021

You can Stop Apologizing for Things that Aren’t your Fault.


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You heard me. Yes you. The one who says sorry incessantly throughout your day.

You need to learn to stop apologizing.

Trauma robs us of our self-worth and even identity. If we don’t find help to heal, we can move through our adult life feeling unloved.

It might be that we were let down badly as children or punished for making mistakes. In turn, we learn to block out our reality and create a need to always be correct. In the face of any dysfunction, we must always resort to “sorry.”

More often now, as I am older, I can let things roll off me and carry on with my day. But this is not always the case. After years of exhaustion from the weight of holding my own life together, it is as if I’m in an overdrive functioning system.

The overdrive is a reflex to fear that I can’t control.

I grew up grieving. It’s as if my brain gets highjacked by what the patterns in my life have carved for me. So, when I face a minor disruption that slows me down, I quickly resort to the ever-so-present “sorry” because it’s not in my nature not to apologize.

Years of therapy and insight have brought light to my irrational fears. While they have greatly improved, my people-pleasing tendencies will still live at my core. They reside with the part of me that once believed constantly saying “sorry” makes sense in every situation.

In an emotionally challenging situation, I quickly start with an initial sorry and a quick explanation followed by shutting down to dodge the discomfort of conflict in my interpersonal relationships with my family, friends, and significant other.

Jumping to my initial sorry, explanation, and shutdown, I begin to believe I have control over my emotions and that I am in control of my situation before the real feelings that I’m hiding have an opportunity to manifest further. I cut off the emotional experience by masking it, therefore, not having a chance to sit in the discomfort and grow from it.

I used to refuse feeling my fear and my real emotions, so every time I was faced with discomfort, I simply excused myself with some level of an apology that fit that scenario.

For as long as I can remember, I have been the “sorry” girl. At times, I wasn’t even sorry, just completely uncomfortable.

Having faced severe trauma as a child, losing my father and my brother at a young age, I lived in great fear of experiencing emotions that remind me of how I feel when I think of my loss.

I’m now in the chapter of my life where I constantly remind myself, “You can stop apologizing now.”

When I take the time to think about why I’m sorry before I begin to say it, nine out of 10 times, I find that I am only overcompensating for another emotion and masking it with word “sorry.”

In the past, “sorry” for me has often not always meant remorse but a mask for the fact that I am anxious and afraid.

Learning as an adult that being afraid is truly okay helps us face our emotions and embrace them.

Love your fear. That’s all it needs.

Just as you love the courageous part of you, learn to love your fearful parts because they all make you whole. Fear will only grow when you let it consume you. You need to apologize when you have made an honest mistake, not every time you want to hide from your real feelings.

You can stop apologizing now.

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