Sometimes we make mistakes—it happens. And when it does, we apologize and move on. That’s just how it works. And don’t get me wrong, it takes strength and maturity to be able to admit that we’ve made a mistake.
I’ve learned that apologizing is a necessary part of all relationships, especially relationships you want to last. It’s hard to admit you’re wrong and maybe overreacted, but in the end, these conversations make you and your relationship that much stronger.
But is “sorry” always the best response? How many times a day can we actually say sorry?
I’m a firm believer in the idea that our reactions to situations are a powerful way to make the best of a bad one. A lot of things in life are out of our control, but how we react to them, our attitudes and actions, are 100% up to us.
So when I found myself excessively apologizing throughout the day for the littlest things, I thought about ways I could change my perspective to see these occurrences as positive ones.
I tried to think of ways I could get the same message across but use “sorry” a whole lot less, and here’s a few I’ve come up with so far:
Sorry I’m late: Thanks for waiting for me.
Sorry I woke you up: Want tea or coffee in bed?
Sorry I’m so upset: Thanks for listening to me.
Sorry I’ve been off lately: Thank you for loving me for who I am, especially when I’m not feeling like myself.
Sorry I don’t know what to say: I’m here for you
Sorry I’ve gone on about this: Thank you for being there for me
Sorry, I don’t know: I’m not sure, want to talk about it?
It may seem silly, just a small change up of words, but I think this notion is really important. Constantly apologizing can make you feel like you’re perpetually in the wrong and leave you feeling drained and frustrated.
And we can’t forget, there are things you should absolutely never be sorry for—getting yourself out of an uncomfortable or unsafe situation, not wanting to pursue a relationship with someone, or for being who you are – those situations never warrant an apology.
But when you can’t change the situation, remember you can change how you react to it. And next time you find yourself falling back on “sorry:, see if you can rework a response that improves your situation and creates a more positive conversation for you and everyone involved.