Unless you are perfect – and there is certainly no one who is – apologies are a necessary part of life. The word “I’m sorry” has great value, and expressing it frees you from guilt for having hurt someone, restores a sense of trust between the two parties and helps us save a relationship that is very important to us, it also strengthens our belief in our own moral goodness and sympathy.
But like most things, being overly apologetic can become a bad habit and can even cause this expression to lose its meaning. Care should be taken with this, as over-apologizing can be the result of being too hard on ourselves, rather than acknowledging that everyone in the world makes mistakes and no one expects you to be perfect.
When people have feelings of shame and guilt, they ask others for forgiveness, even when you haven’t really hurt the least bit by their behavior. The consequence? We run the risk of reinforcing the mistaken belief that we are inherently blameworthy.
7 cases in which you should not feel guilty
1. Your feelings
Telling people what we think and feel is a responsibility in any relationship. Letting other people know what you really feel helps others to understand you. This is not to say that you say everything at once every time you feel an urge, but if something is bothering you or you are uncomfortable with someone, it is perfectly legitimate.
2. Your appearance
You are what you are Why would it be necessary to apologize for what you are? It is clear that if you are dressed completely out of place in an office or other place where the dress code may be violated you should dress appropriately to the place, however you should not apologize for the way you dress, the color of the clothes you choose, or the accessories you choose, among other things, because that defines you as a person and for who you are.
3. Need for time
All people are different, therefore, each person varies in the amount of time they want to spend alone. Anxious people, for example, need more time than others, so it is critical to their well-being that they give themselves all the space they require to feel good about themselves, even if it means turning down a friend or date.
If you feel guilty about requesting time for yourself , it is very likely that you are overthinking things. Don’t worry: we all need space, time for ourselves, there is nothing wrong with giving us this. If the other person reacts badly, it is not your problem, but rather that other person’s problem.
4. Ask a question
We invalidate ourselves when we apologize for raising a question. Some of us usually do it to protect our ego, for fear that a partner will make fun of us for our lack of knowledge, however you should not apologize if you are requesting help or clarification on any subject. All you need to say is “can you please help me understand this? or could you explain me better, please? If someone judges you for asking , it could be a projection of that person’s own insecurities.
5. By the behavior of others
Unless you have incited someone to rude behavior, you should be aware that the way others act is completely out of your control, therefore there is no reason to apologize. The behavior of others is not your responsibility.
6. Do not immediately reply to a message
You can’t always immediately respond to a friend, loved one, or coworker. Unless it was an emergency, you can apologize, but don’t apologize for not responding immediately, as you may be really busy for it.
So that people do not get angry, it is recommended to send a text saying “I have not forgotten about you, I am just a little busy with work” or “I am still at work waiting for an answer, so if you still have time to wait Perfect. ”Don’t forget that you also have your own needs and issues to attend to.
7. Circumstances cannot be controlled
Someone complains to you about a difficult boss, an unhappy relationship, or another situation and your immediate reaction is to say “I’m sorry.” We do this because we feel bad for the other person. But instead of confusing the situation and verbalizing a responsibility that you don’t really have, you can instead say “that’s very bad” or “that must be very hard for you.”
Apologizing for things for which you are not responsible can not only invalidate and reinforce feelings of low self-worth , but it can trivialize the act of apologizing and give others the impression that we are less capable.
Much of overcoming the urge to apologize for things we are not responsible for involves a tolerance for the discomfort of uncomfortable situations, as well as increased self-compassion . It’s not easy to suddenly change behavior, but studies show that in some cases, withholding apologies can be beneficial.
So the next time you find yourself on the verge of saying “I’m sorry,” take a breath, pause, and ask yourself if you’re really guilty.
- Katherine Schreiber, 7 things you should stop apologizing for. For Greatist [Revised July 2016]