Someone bumps into you and the first words out of YOUR mouth are “Oh, I’m sorry, excuse me”. Now, I am all for polite niceties but I’ve realized that my personal vocabulary has been hindering my growth quite a bit.
And, I’m not even talking about my internal voice to myself. I’m talking about the actual interactions I have with real people, and the role they play in my life.
So, if any of the above sounds familiar, or you too have apologized to countless strangers for their mistake, then I encourage you to consider removing the following words and phrases from your vocabulary.
Now, I am going to preface this with it doesn’t happen overnight. I still apologize uselessly and I still catch myself reverting back at times. But having a list in mind and being more aware of it, has improved this inclination dramatically.
1. “I’m sorry”
First off, there is a time and very important place for “I’m sorry” and it is when you have actually done something to warrant an apology. I’m sorry is a powerful phrase and I’ve seemingly diluted its power because I use it so frequently. Even when I have done nothing wrong.
The power of words come from the intention and emotion behind it. So by apologizing to a stranger who has bumped into me, I have now taken a little bit of the power away from my “I’m sorry’s”. And that’s not a shame, because when I really need to mean them, they have become so diluted they are almost meaningless.
It is also important to note that apologizing when you didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t cause any hurt or pain to someone else, creates a bad mental reflection for yourself. It has become so ingrained in me to think I am always the person at fault that I question myself constantly.
So when should you say you’re sorry:
– When you’ve hurt someone
– When you’re in the wrong
– When you’ve accidentally done something wrong and want to express that it was both an accident and wrong.
– When you didn’t mean to but still caused pain to someone else
– Anytime that you feel guilt around the situation and have culpability
This one is so big that I’ve actually started implementing an “i’m sorry” jar for myself. It’s like a swear jar, except every time I say “i’m sorry” throughout the day and it wasn’t justified, I put a dollar in the jar.
Hopefully, I can start saving my money for better purposes.
Again, all of these phrases and words have their beautiful, rightful place in our vocabulary but sometimes “yes” gets the better of me.
I am so caught up in the other person’s emotions that I fail to consider myself in the interaction, which undoubtedly causes friction in the end.
Do you want to try my ______? Yes (even though I hate _____)
Can you do me this favor? yes, of course ( even though I have absolutely zero free time)
Would you be able to do this extra ______? yes, no problem ( even though I’m not getting paid )
Giving my yes’ away for free means my time is hindered and my ultimate goals are being suppressed.
Some yes’ are great and lead to new opportunities and new connections. So if its a work opportunity that will be mutually beneficial, then say that yes loud and proud.
But, if you’re saying yes just to be nice and only to help the other person, start reeling that word back in.
It is in fact, ok to say no. Politely, of course.
Here’s an example :
Can you do me this favor of __insert favor here___?
Answer: I would love to help you out, but unfortunately I am swamped this week and don’t have the free time. I hope you get it resolved!
The response is never going to be perfect and honestly, for me, it is never going to FEEL perfect either. But, I will be a lot happier because i have not over committed myself to the point of exhaustion.
Ok, I know I said phrases and vocabulary but silence is just as bad as saying either of the two above options.
I have this tendency to not speak up. It’s a problem and it has gotten me in a lot of situations I would prefer to otherwise avoid.
Instead of voicing my opinion, I sit there like a mute, accepting the status quo.
Now, I am a confident, well-spoken woman. I love intelligent conversation and debating topics with friends. I can even be a bit obnoxious if its something I am passionate about.
But, put me in a room with someone I am deferential to, or intimidated by and the words just seem to slip away.
My immediate thought becomes “why rock the boat” or “does this really need to be brought up”. But the truth is, it does matter. And it does need to be said.
This is probably the hardest one on the list because it is fighting my nature to speak up about my feelings. However, the more I lean towards doing this (it’s a slow process) the better my relationships have become.
So, try not to be silent. There is power in telling others how you feel, and why you feel that way.
Again, politely, of course. [ click here for a great podcast on self-transformation]
Interactions are the lifeblood of our lives. Great conversation and connection feed our souls. That is why it is so incredibly important to be aware of the words and lack of words that can affect our lives.
The above things have lead me to be over-committed, over-apologetic, and generally too focused on the other person instead of my own self-worth.
Think about your own life and mental wellness like they do in a plane emergency. Put YOUR air mask on first before you assist another. You deserve to be a priority.
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Pin this so you can keep yourself in check when you want to needlessly apologize.