Sorry, Not Sorry: Being Unapologetic & Stepping into Your Power
You know the scene well; you’re on a busy train / tube and someone bumps into you, or you want to get past someone who appears to be carrying the entire contents of their home on their shoulder. What’s your immediate response? Do you A; ask that person move / remove the bag from their shoulder so you can get past? Do you B; push past them without saying a word taking them and their bag with you in your wake? Or do you C; apologise for the inconvenience of being in their way, and try and limbo underneath them to get where you need to? I’m betting that if you’re really honest with yourself, as much as you would like it to be either A or B, invariably most of the time it’s C.
Now, take a little swing around in your memory; have a think about the emails or texts you might have sent over the past month to a friend, work colleague or family member. How many of those interactions started with something along the lines of ‘I’m sorry to bother you, but….’, or ‘I hope you don’t mind if I …’, or even ‘I’m just popping into your inbox to…’?
Ask yourself how often have you started a face-to-face conversation with someone in the same way? Maybe you find that upon entering a room you’ve introduced yourself with sorry rather than introducing yourself by your name? Sound like you? Yeah, me too, or at least, it was. Sorry about that.
Let’s get real about this; if you totted up the amount of times you dish out the apologies in one form or another throughout a day, week or month, it could get into big numbers. Relating this then to how much you are being apologetic for simply being you; it can have quite an impact over on a sense of self over time.
Over-apologising directly relates to just how apologetic we can become in our lives. We play small, we shrink behind our sorry, and literally don’t take up our rightful space in the world. Sorries can happen through words, as well as through non-verbal communication, such as body language and presence. This tends to happen more often to women than men; you just have to look at how much women wrap themselves into folded arms and legs on the tube, versus the guy sat next to her whose legs are so wide spread that he must be hiding an entire sausage factory in his underwear!
Well, it’s time to put a pause on the apologies, and start taking up our rightful space in our lives, here’s some ideas on how:
List out your sorries
Make a note of just how often you’re apologising each day, and the kinds of things you apologise for, whether that’s walking into a room, joining a conversation, wanting to move passed someone, wanting someone to do something for you.
Understand your apologetic language
It’s simple to be caught out by it, so have a think about what kind of language, words, or turns of phrases you use which are apologetic.
Some examples are ‘little’, ‘just’, ‘I hope you don’t mind…’, ‘Does that make sense?’, ‘I won’t take a minute’, ‘I hope I’m not bothering you?’, ‘Would you mind if I…?’, ‘If you don’t mind.’
These, and many more everyday statements belie the sense of being in our power. So, running through the likely offenders of the apologetic language you use.
Edit your apologies
Write your email or text in the way you normally would, and then check over it for where you might be using apologetic language, or keeping yourself small, and then re-write it. Be more direct, and if you want the answer to something; simply ask… and then stop.
Become apology aware
Become aware of which situations or places you are most likely to apologise. Is that in work, in your relationships, with your family? Become an observer to what’s sitting underneath particular places or scenarios where you find that you are minimising on your sense of self.
Make your sorries count
As the saying goes; “We must remember that an apology isn’t an apology unless it’s meaningful.” Cutting back on sorries doesn’t mean that you don’t apologise ever. It just means that when you drop an ‘S’ bomb you actually mean it, and it has more potency.
Yes, stop apologising. Full stop. It works wonders. You can also use this STOP mindfulness method when it comes catching yourself where your first reaction is to apologise.
S – STOP. There’s a time lag between a trigger and reaction, which gives you enough time to stop and make a decision about how you choose to respond.
T – Take a Breath, and focus on how you are feeling, and again, how you choose to respond.
O – Observe what’s going on, and ask yourself:
What am I thinking?
How am I feeling?
What am I doing?
What are my intentions?
How do I choose to respond?
P – Proceed, with a renewed sense where you are in control of your responses, and feeling much more in your power.
Give it a go. Take up the Sorry, Not Sorry challenge for the next month and observe what happens. You will unveil the wonder of taking up space, and being unapologetic for being you.