How many times a day do you apologize? It’s a weird thing, but I’m out of control when it comes to saying I’m sorry. I don’t have to do a single thing wrong. In fact, there are times when the fault can clearly belong to the other person, and yet I will be the first seeking forgiveness. So, when I saw this commercial the other day, it really hit home.
Do you have a similar problem, and if so, have you ever wondered where this eccentric little quirk comes from? In my case, I believe the years of living in a abusive situation taught me to automatically assume the blame. I mean, it could never possibly be his fault, right?
Grovelling was a survival tactic, but fortunately, in my new life, it has become unnecessary. It’s time to stop. Question is, how?
Anyone who knows me will tell you I could probably use some time in a therapist’s office. Unfortunately, my bank account doesn’t allow for that, option. I do, however, attend a 12-step program to aid me in dealing with the past, and navigating toward the future. My meetings are a place to listen and learn. They are also a safe environment for sharing, either within the group, or one-on-one, between myself and another member. My group teaches honesty, acceptance and self-love—all things that will benefit my growth process. Maybe one day, I will actually be convinced there is no need to beg the pardon of everyone I meet.
Since my separation, I have also become a bit of a self-help book junkie. There’s some wonderful stuff out there, but I learned to be selective, because there’s plenty that’s not so good too. I recently gave up reading one book after just 75 pages. The gems of information that spoke to me were so scarce, I couldn’t bear to plow through another 250 pages.
My last Amazon purchase turned out to be even more interesting. Due to my own ordering mistake, I did not get the book I was expecting. Instead, I received a slender masterpiece promising that by following the author’s instructions, a reader could “win back the ex” after any breakup.
No, thank you.
I’ve been learning about positive affirmations lately. I’m told that, over time, they can improve the way we see ourselves. Suggestions I’ve found say to look in the mirror twice a day, and repeat a positive statement of self-worth, or possibly a short prayer, about three times in a row. This is all very new to me, and my first challenge was in choosing the right thing to say. “Stop apologizing, Dummy,” came to mind, but I decided against it. Turns out, I could search “positive affirmations” on DuckDuckGo.com (Since your activity isn’t tracked there, I use it instead of Google.) to find countless websites offering great ideas.
In the end, I wrote my own affirmation—a few sentences that spoke just to me. Now I must learn to be more consistent. I had no idea I suffered from bouts of blindness, but it turns out the distractions in an average morning rob me of the ability to see a hot pink sticky note hanging in the center of the bathroom mirror. Who knew?
“I’m sorry.” Sorry for what? For occupying space? For breathing air? For existing?
Over-apologizing can be a sure sign that we view ourselves as less important than others. Do you spend all your time caring for others, while totally ignoring your own needs? Do you usually give in to demands that leave you at a disadvantage?
A dear friend used to tell women like me, “Honey, you aren’t a doormat. You’re a wall-to-wall broadloom.” Think of the instructions they give at the beginning of a flight. In case of an emergency, we are instructed to, first, put on our own oxygen mask, and then assist others.
Lately, I’ve made a commitment to do something nice for myself every day. There are a million little things I can do to bolster my self-worth, and let me tell you, it feels surprisingly good to treat myself with such kindness. I might go to coffee with a friend, take a bubble bath, visit the beach, or cook one of my favorite meals. I could go to a matinee, enjoy my morning coffee as I watch the sunrise, or buy a new outfit. Or maybe I’ll set up a Skype session with my grandson, go for a nice walk, or get a manicure.
Shall I continue? No? Okay… sorry.
On second thought, nope. Not sorry!
Now, tell me, what have you done for yourself today?