Apologizing Queen, One of My Old Personas

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I frequently refer to myself as a recovering people-pleaser. I previously would find myself not having the trust and faith in myself and my decisions to voice my thoughts and opinions. I didn’t want to cause any interruptions in the status quo and wanted others to be happy, so I would frequently put others’ needs before my own. I thought this was the path to a happy and conflict-free life.


It wasn’t.  


Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind. I found joy in it. Right up until didn’t. Right up until I would feel unseen, frustrated, and had resentments build up. Then I would get mad, try to voice my needs, and endure the arguments that would come next. Something had to change.


I had to change.


One of the first steps towards recovery was learning what to apologize for and when. I would apologize for everything. If I was late because of a vehicle accident, I would say “I’m sorry.” If it rained when I had planned a walk, I would apologize. Someone would step on the back of my shoe in a crowd. You guessed it, I would say “I’m sorry.”


I never even realized it until one day someone asked me why I apologized for everything. That really made me stop and think.


Why am I sorry for all these things out of my control? What am I getting out of saying “I’m sorry” for everything? Why am I doing this?


I couldn’t come up with any good answers and, the more I thought and read about it, I realized my constant apologizing was deteriorating my self-esteem, let alone diminishing the value of any true apology I would give. 

Apologizing excessively can have several detrimental effects on people-pleasers:

  1. Diminished Self-Worth: Constantly apologizing for minor things sends a message to yourself that you are at fault or inherently flawed. Over time, this can erode your self-esteem, making it challenging to assert your needs and opinions confidently.
  2. Disempowerment: Frequent apologies give away your power by conveying that your actions or existence are inconveniences. This can perpetuate a cycle of self-doubt and inhibit you from expressing your true self or standing up for what you believe in.
  3. Communication Barriers: Over-apologizing can create communication challenges. By habitually saying sorry, you may avoid expressing your thoughts, opinions, or boundaries, leading to misunderstandings and unmet needs in your relationships.

Do you want to come off as a disempowered person with no self-confidence or self-esteem who can’t communicate?

I didn’t, as I knew that wasn’t me.  

Let me give you a couple of pointers as to how I stopped apologizing excessively and that helped me to maintain respectful communication without undermining my power.

It starts with mindfulness and self-awareness. Start by paying attention to situations where you tend to over-apologize. Ask yourself if an apology is truly warranted or if an alternative phrase would be more appropriate.

Challenge the belief that you are responsible for others’ emotions or reactions. Remember, you have a right to your feelings, opinions, and boundaries, and expressing them respectfully is an essential part of healthy relationships.

Not sure exactly what to say if you aren’t using an apology? Here is a list of alternate phrases you can use instead:

  1. Express empathy or understanding:
    • “I appreciate your perspective on this.”
    • “I understand where you’re coming from.”
    • “I see how that could be frustrating.”
  2. Offer gratitude or appreciation:
    • “Thank you for your patience.”
    • “I’m grateful for your understanding.”
    • “I appreciate your flexibility.”
  3. Take responsibility without apologizing:
    • “I will take that into consideration.”
    • “I understand my role in this.”
    • “I will make an effort to improve.”
  4. Clarify or rephrase:
    • “To clarify, I meant…”
    • “Let me rephrase that more clearly.”
    • “Allow me to provide more context.”
  5. Assert boundaries or express needs:
    • “I would prefer…”
    • “My boundary in this situation is…”
    • “It’s important for me to…”

If you are like me and find yourself saying “I’m sorry” frequently throughout your day, take a step back and see how that is affecting you. Are you struggling with your self-confidence or self-worth? Are you unintentionally giving up your power? 

Today is the perfect day to change that!

Next time you catch yourself saying “I’m sorry” I want you to take note of it. Can you think of another empowering way to say what you just said? If not, come back to this list above. If you are still struggling, drop me a line at Steph@KoruLifeCoaching.com, and let me help you! Let me help you find your self-worth because you are worth it!! A simple change is the start of a new you!

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