How often do you find yourself apologising for something that wasn’t your fault. Something that you didn’t cause, create or be responsible for . Yet you say sorry for fear of upsetting another person. Ever thought about only apologising for the things you are responsible for?
We all have an innate desire to be liked and accepted. Our childhood and our culture can shape the habits we have. Saying sorry can be one of those long term habits.
Guess what? You can change!
Apologising for taking up someone’s time -‘Sorry, I won’t keep you’ isn’t necessary. The person we are engaging with might be (most probably is) perfectly happy connecting with you.
It’s ok to say sorry when you caused the problem. You were 10 minutes late ‘Sorry I’m late’ (this is your responsibility and you probably put what you were doing before you were late as a priority. Or you are doing TOO MUCH!
If someone bumps into you when you are in a public place and it wasn’t your fault, you don’t need to say sorry!
If you value yourself it helps negate the need to apologise for your presence.
Don’t say sorry for not replying straight away. Technology is another place where apologies are overused.. If someone sends you a text and you don’t see it until later because you don’t check your phone incessantly, you don’t need to apologise. If they needed you urgently they could have phoned.
If you send newsletters for you business, you don’t need to send a newsletter saying ‘sorry I haven’t written for a while’. Firstly, your reader may not have even noticed and secondly they may be grateful that their inbox hasn’t been overloaded. They may be hanging out to hear from you (I LOVE those newsletters that you can’t wait to open when you see them) but if it’s later than normal then the anticipation and excitement will be multiplied and that’s a cool thing! Honestly, most people won’t notice and if they do it will be with respect for being imperfect.
No need to say sorry for things you can’t control. Someone else problems are not your fault. Instead of saying ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ you could try saying ‘that must be so hard for you’.
Don’t apologise for something that wasn’t your fault. Someone bumps into you with the shopping trolley or at the mall when they were looking at their phone and not you. Not your fault!
Don’t apologise for asking a question and never say ‘Sorry, this is a silly question’. If you don’t know the answer it doesn’t make the question silly. Asking a question if you need an answer is courageous and a sign that you are curious and want to learn.
And the big one, the most challenging one (for me)…
Never say sorry for saying no. Try writing a list of responses. You can even put them in your notes in your phone to refer to.
‘That doesn’t work for me right now’
‘I can’t make it that day’
‘I can’t do that time but i can do it at ‘x’ time, would that work for you?’
‘None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates.’
‘I can’t offer my time right now’
‘Thanks so much for asking, but I can’t. Ask me again in a year.’
‘It’s a no this time. But thank you for asking.’
Guess what? You DO NOT need to give a reason.
Once you get into the practice of this it does get easier. And the amazing thing is, once you give yourself permission to say no, no-0ne challenges you as to why.
If you really feel you need to give a reason And you may until you get more comfortable saying ‘no’, try these :-
‘I promised my coach (therapist, husband, etc.) and myself, I wouldn’t take on any more stuff right now. I’m working on creating more balance in my life.’
Saying no helps other people grow!
Say no even when you aren’t ‘working’.
I find one of the hardest times to say no is when I have scheduled time to work on my blog or time for myself. If I have clients booked in, saying no is automatic. I am learning to say no when it’s time for me doing things that lift me up. This is essential in everyone’s life. Treating commitments to yourself as non-negotiable.
Try a 7 day challenge. Only saying sorry for things that you were responsible for. And even then, think about what you could have changed so that there was no need to apologise in the first place.
Are you running late all the time? Do less, prioritise more. Notice the things you are on time for and the things you are not. Generally you will run late for the things that don’t excite you.
Say no more often. Once you’ve said no, stick with your decision. It was, most definitely, what your heart wanted at the time before your head took over. If your mind is saying no and your mouth is saying yes, you have a problem.
Say no without a reason. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.