When did it become a thing to say sorry even when we are not at fault? Or saying sorry when you don’t feel it? A few weeks ago I was called up on this. I kept saying sorry for the smallest things and my friend turned around and said “Stop saying sorry, you’ve done nothing wrong” and I swear it was on the tip of my tongue to apologise for that too. We view apologies as a sign of weakness. But in fact, they require great strength. It’s hard to admit fault but when we do we automatically feel better. So when you think about it, apologising is like confession. You are confessing you are in the wrong and showing utter humility and empathy to that person. So is it purely physiological? Does it make us feel better and in that way is it selfish to apologise when we don’t feel it? To have acceptance and forgiveness is a purely human need that stems from our social backgrounds. We are taught right and wrong as a child and when we do something wrong we fear the wrath of our parents. So when we say sorry and avoid a punishment or get a lesser punishment we automatically feel we have avoided any negativity and bad feeling. When I was younger I was viewed as ‘naughty’ the teachers and other students labeled me this. So I became that label. I was forever being accused of things whether I had done them or not. Don’t get me wrong I did a lot of mischievous things as a kid but because of that label, I was getting blamed for things I had not done. In fact I remember getting into trouble for biting someone when I was nowhere near said kid. Turns out he bit himself, I know now it was his cry for help. But whether I had done it or not I found t easier to say sorry and move on. So in some ways I feel like apologising is like an everyday thing to do. It’s been programmed in some of us just to say sorry. So how can we stop?
1. What happened? Analyse the situation. For example, taking your coffee back to the Barista “Sorry to be a pain, but my coffee is a bit cold, can you heat it up?”- Hold up, why are you sorry? You paid for the damn thing! You like coffee hot. Be polite about it by all means do not apologise. 2. How where you in the wrong? For example if your friend is being a complete nightmare at another friends party, Drunk or generally being idiotic? Saying I’m sorry isn’t your job, it’s your friend’s. Tell that nightmare friend to apologise and maybe re-evaluate where to take this friend on nights out. And if someone wants you to apologise for someone else’s behaviour? Then that’s their problem.
3. If you are going to say it, mean it. There is no point saying sorry just to get out of a situation or to end awkwardness. If you say sorry and you don’t feel like you where in the wrong then you need to talk it out. Tell that person why you think you should not be sorry. Because not being sorry and saying it will just leave you feeling resentful. And the end of the day don’t sacrifice your power. If you are in the wrong, apologise and mean it. If you were not or feel like you were not then analyse the situation and talk it out with the person you offended or upset. It would be better for you both if you did or it will be forever hanging over your heads and all you will ever feel is resent for losing your position.