I have a pet peeve with the word, “sorry.” We use it too much and inappropriately. We apologize for our feelings, for talking about our thoughts, for having needs as human beings, and God forbid *insert the clutching of pearls* we ask to have those needs met! I’ve noticed it in sessions with clients – individual and group – “I am sorry for crying,” “I am sorry for taking up time,” and “I am sorry for bringing down the mood.” So, I’ve decided I am no longer going to accept it! I reject your apology.
Not because I am a heartless person who wants you to stew in your guilt and remorse, but because you, most likely, have nothing for which to apologize! Please understand, if you have actually caused harm to another person, purposefully or unintentionally, then by all means – apologize. I am not advocating for people to become inconsiderate or to abdicate responsibility for harm we are capable of committing. However, if you are apologizing for simply existing, for being human, for having needs, for expressing a feeling then stop! Instead, try saying “thank you.”
- Thank you for hearing me out.
- Thank you for responding to what I said.
- Thank you for being a good friend.
- Thank you for not judging me.
- Thank you for accepting me.
- Thank you for being there when I needed it.
This sorrow that we keep expressing is embedded with the unconscious belief that we are not worthy and are, in someway, burdensome on others simply as a result of our existing. It’s annoying and it’s corrosive to relationships and our self-worth. By thanking people, we still acknowledge the impact we are having on them – they’ve still expended time and emotional energy – but it approaches the expense as a gift! That’s right a gift. A gift of their time, energy, attention (which is in short supply today), and love. This helps build relationships and increase connections.
Remember, you are not a burden, you are worthy of love, you are worthy of care, and those in your life who see this in you are a sweet gift worth cherishing. If you find that you are unable to see this value in yourself, please feel free to reach out to our office, one of our therapists would love to offer additional support.
Daniel Garner-Quintero, LMHCLicensed Mental Health Counselor