I’ve always been a girl that is sorry for everything, even when I have nothing to do with it. I believe it started when I was little. My mother was always angry and outraged about something, so I got into the habit of being sorry. It didn’t help my practice, being in the world of customer service at a benefits company many moons ago. I was always apologizing for junk that was not my own doing.
I’m not alone as I can spot a cereal apologizer a mile away and she has my sympathies (see how I did that?).
I’ve never liked conflict and being apologetic helps diffuse certain situations. It’s one of the first things they teach you in customer service. I find myself using these words as a buffer with my children, taking a hit to save a brawl.
There are legitimate reasons to be sorry like, “Oopsie, I stepped on your foot. I’m sorry!” or “You lost your job? I’m so sorry”. What bums me out is hearing myself repeatedly over-apologizing in a conversation. I sound weak and become awkward after I realize I’m doing it. It has given certain people in my life the license to take advantage and walk all over me.
I’ve recently noticed my 9-year-old daughter doing it and am nipping it in the bud. I don’t want her to follow my example and develop excessive apologizing habits. While I do want her to mind her manners and show others empathy, I want her to do it appropriately. I don’t want others to take advantage of her kindness or willingness to make peace quickly.
Forcing myself to become aware when I’m doing it, is a work in progress. I’ve already had conversations with my daughter about why this phrase has become a habit for me and when it’s the right time to say it. Feeling sorry and being sorry really are two separate entities. I want her to stay sweet while exuding confidence instead of weakness.
We can’t take responsibility for everything that goes pear-shaped in the world, but we can make peace for ourselves without over-apologizing.