Stop Apologizing When You Really Want To Express Gratitude
When I first started hanging out with Maura, I noticed how often she apologized. She did it a lot, actually, and became a bit of an endearing joke with our friend group which was really our own way of reminding her she was apologizing for things she didn’t need to be sorry for!
We found this one brilliant technique online somewhere, and introduced it to the mix. The idea was that for every time you feel the need to apologize, instead tell that person that you are grateful for them holding space for you. For example, if you’re inclined to say, “I’m sorry for talking too much”, try expressing the true sentiment behind that statement which is, “Thank you for spending time with me, and listening to me talk. I appreciate your friendship, willingness to listen, time, energy, and support”. I mean, that’s pretty elaborate, but it’s to give you ideas.
Today, Maura came over in the early afternoon to do our studio photoshoot which I was up all night cleaning the studio and creating props for, but we sunk into talking and it was one of those talks where you forget you have your phone and all of a sudden it’s four hours later and we can’t even do any outdoor shots because it’s dark! Ah! Upon realizing this we decided we should go down to work, and talked much more instead.
During our talks, I noticed us slipping into habits of apologizing for talking too much when it was our turn to talk or worrying we were coming off as judgy or offensive. Things we know in our heart aren’t necessary to worry about because we know, trust, and value each other so much, but I realized what we were doing was using the wrong language to consistently check in with each other to see how the other person felt. We know the other isn’t being judgmental, and always has the other’s best interests in mind when sharing a new idea, perspective, or piece of advice, but we wanted to acknowledge that we were invested in their state of mind, as well as wanting to express gratitude for them holding space for us.
When we shifted gears into our photoshoot, I noticed our language naturally changed. Instead of an I’m Sorry Off, we were almost over appreciating each other verbally! We were using the right language to express what we’ve been feeling all day and all along. Gratitude for the other person’s creativity, generosity, time, flexibility, opinions, energy, and so much more.
I am so proud of how we and our relationship have evolved over time. I can’t wait to see where we are in a few more years.
I encourage you to replace your superfluous “I’m Sorry’s” with expressions of gratitude! You deserve to be listened to, you deserve to rant and vent about your life, you deserve to be loved. You’re allowed to change your mind, go off on tangents, and be emotionally all over the place. This conscious act will re-frame your perspective on so many aspects about life, and remind you that not only are you allowed and deserve to do what you want and need to do, but the people who love you can’t accept your apology anyway because they love listening to you in the first place.
Photos: Maura Housley