Personal Habits: Over-Apologizing

How would it feel when a person you know apologizes for something which isn’t their fault? If someone dashed into him, he would apologize saying, “ I am sorry, I didn’t see you coming my way.” There is a limit for everything and after a while it feels weird to hear them say sorry for so many things. 

There are so many factors that lead you to apologize for things. It could be how you have been raised or it’s something you have seen your family do, maybe it’s how you see the world. Apologizing is good for finding peace in conflicts or relationships. You say sorry for the mistake you have made so you don’t repeat it again. It reassures a person that you genuinely didn’t expect the outcome that has come and you want to amend your mistake. 

You should not apologize for something you have not done or you have done for something that needed help. When you dash into someone, you apologize because you should have seen him coming, but you shouldn’t apologize for someone who dashed into you when you have been standing quietly. 

A lot of people apologize for the reason of avoiding conflict or because they feel that they made the other person feel bad. It usually is either of them. Sometimes, it’s guilt that drives them. Guilty for joking/pranking, guilty for ignoring them, guilty for not asking them or the feeling of guilt for putting themselves first.

Reasons why you feel like apologizing:

  1. You were taught to put others first: When you were a kid, you saw someone fall down. You rush to their aid and lift them up with your itty-bitty strength, and they thank you for helping them. You are praised by your family and the incident’s talked about at various family gatherings. It gives you the feeling of responsibility and makes you feel that you have to put others first and it should be your priority over anything. Fast forward to now, your friends ask for your help on their project, and you rush. You complete their project but yours gets delayed. Your sir calls you out in front of the class saying that you delay your work because of your laziness and your friend doesn’t stand up. Neither do they tell the sir after nor give you credit. You don’t say anything because your friend was first even if you were called out. You apologize to sir because you couldn’t finish it and not for helping your friend before yourself.

Truth: By putting others first, you don’t gain much but you do lose out on time that you could have used for yourself. If you had taken time to complete yours along with theirs, the work would have been completed quickly and efficiently with time to go over errors.

  1. You were taught to help others without seeing what you need: You always gave your grandpa medicine on time, you helped your mother in cooking, you would take the newspaper to your dad along with his morning tea/coffee, and you were always told to help people. Today, you help someone, no matter how much stress/workload you have. They ask for anything and you help them out. Sometimes, it’s just a text to their crush on how to ask out and you help them, despite the deadline of your project. So you apologize when you can’t help them because you are placing yourself first.

Truth: You need to see what help you need first so you can complete the necessary task at hand. The text can be sent anytime but your deadline can only be given once. You need to help others but you need to see if it is something that actually needs help.

  1. Scolded when you placed more importance on yourself: A lot of children are told to share and to not be selfish. If you have 2 chocolates, give it to your friend because you are a “good boy/girl”. After growing up, whenever you need new shoes or your family needs a new appliance, you choose the second option because it feels like a need but yours feels selfish.

*Appliance is used twice and placed for “Future Use”*

Truth: Sometimes, being selfish is good. You need new shoes and your home has enough appliances. By getting new shoes, you will stop getting the foot ache that you have been facing for the past 2 months. If you get new shoes, then you can work with more focus and more energy. 

  1. Avoiding Conflict: In most cases, when you were a kid, your tantrums would cause your parents to scold you and you would face punishment, or your friends would distance you because you get angry frequently. The last one pushes a child to socializing issues and causes anxiety on how others perceive them for every single action they take. So, they apologize whenever someone raises their voice a little bit, no matter what the conversation is about. They want to avoid the conflict because they don’t want to face what happened earlier and become outcasted.

Truth: You will face conflicts in future, either in relationships or friendships, you need to understand why you should apologize and for what you should stand your ground. Conflicts are what brings people closer to understand the other person better by learning their needs. If you never have a fight, how will you know what the other person actually feels?

  1. Harmed someone in childhood: When a kid unknowingly harms someone, they get scared and cannot move because they don’t know what to do. Their mind goes blank and they freeze because this feeling is new to their system and it’s hard to know what to do next. The kid is then scolded and constantly lectured over and over again to the point the kid feels anxious to touch a person. When they grow, the anxiety grows with them and it constantly pricks them. What if the casual punch hit harder than it should? What should I do if I dash into someone a little too hard? Should I give them a handshake or fist bump? What if I punch them too hard? Let’s go with the handshake so I don’t hit them too hard.

Truth: It’s okay to give a fist bump or handshake or high-five to a person whom you know. You just need to relax your mind. If you want to touch the person but are scared of the force you put into it, then show a sign of initiation. For a handshake, raise your hand out in the form of a handshake, and wait for them to accept it. By showing initiation, you let the other person engage and guide you through the conversation.

Saying sorry is well and good but exceeding it drains you of your self-confidence. You are a person at the end of the day and you need to stop saying sorry for that. You are existing which means that you will make mistakes and you will learn, but saying sorry for things that don’t require an apology then it will just drain you. It’s not going to get fixed overnight because you have taken years to build this habit. It will be fixed if you work on it every time you notice it happening.

Thank you for reading this article. It is something I have faced and I have learnt how to overcome it. Leave a comment on how has overaplogizing affected your life and how have you overcome it or trying to overcome it.

Post a Comment