Why You Should Stop Saying Sorry (Unless You Mean It)
Stop saying sorry for the sake of saying sorry
With all due respect to Sir Elton John, I have a question: If sorry is the hardest word, then why do we use it like a filler for awkward situations?
We say sorry when we grab the last cookie, when we break up with someone and when we take a little too long to pull out money from our wallets. We say sorry when someone asks to borrow an umbrella we don’t have and when we tell our loved ones the (hard-to-hear) truth. It’s crazy when you think about it, but that’s how we function anyway.
Let’s change the soundtrack a little, shall we? Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry has a good ring to it, if you ask me. But if you need actual reasons why you should stop saying sorry, they do exist.
It makes you the subordinate
Making an apology makes it seem like you’re seeking approval, thereby automatically putting you in the submissive position. Suddenly you’re the one that’s asking for something—likely forgiveness—from someone else, even when you don’t actually need it.
It makes you the guilty one
While most of us say sorry under the guise of being polite, doing so still puts the guilt on us. Whether or not the situation is your fault, saying an apology is like saying you were in the wrong.
Think about it this way: Why admit to a crime you didn’t commit?
It has the risk of becoming insincere
Do something enough times and it eventually won’t give you the same amount of satisfaction. Eat something enough and mauumay ka rin. Say something enough and no one will believe it; it will sound fake and meaningless even to your own ears. And in a world that’s satiated to the ceilings with words, “sorry” is better off on the rare pile.
It’s also necessary to consider that an apology is one of the strongest things in the world. It has the ability to mend bridges, restore relationships (to an extent) and even heal a wound that you’ve inflicted. But the minute that the words leave your mouth one time too many, it becomes so much harder to seem genuine.
It creates an environment of negativity
Constantly being apologetic tends to create a negative environment or a negative state of mind because you’re constantly putting the blame on yourself. And while this might not sound so bad to the slightly masochistic of us, it also gives everyone else the perfect opportunity to put the blame on you.
I’ve been talking a lot about why you shouldn’t say sorry for your sake, but there’s bearing on the receiver as well.
There was a study published in 2017 in the journal of Frontiers in Psychology, which found that rejection actually hurts less when the apology is written off. It might not sound very logical, but including an “I’m sorry” into what is a clear rejection makes most on the receiving end feel like they are required to do some forgiving—and might even act out in revenge as a response.
After all, none of us like being made to feel something when we’re going in another direction.
If you’re a habitual apologizer, it’s going to be hard to stop yourself from saying sorry. It will, without a doubt, be a conscious effort that might tire you out from time to time. You’ll have to catch yourself and start thinking why you’re apologizing or whether or not you even mean it. You’ll have to start saying “thank you” instead of “sorry”—“Thank you for waiting” instead of “I’m sorry I’m late,” “Thank you for doing this for me” instead of “I’m so sorry for the hassle.”
It’s going to be a long road, but it’ll be worth the travel.
Art Alexandra Lara