Have you ever noticed how much you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” in your daily interactions? It’s used so much that it’s practically lost all meaning. So here’s an idea: What if, instead of halfhearted apologies, we gave wholehearted gratitude? What if we replaced “I’m sorry” with “thank you”? That might not make any sense right now but, by the end of this article, you’ll find yourself agreeing or at least considering a new perspective.
This is a concept best explained using real-life examples. Probably the most common thing to apologize for is running late. In a situation like that, instead of saying “I’m sorry”, you could try saying “Thank you so much for waiting and being patient, I know I’m running late.” You’ll be expressing genuine gratitude, which has been proven to change your own way of thinking, and also acknowledging what the other person has done for you (waiting) which they’ll appreciate. That kind of gratitude and acknowledgment goes much, much further than an insincere “I’m sorry”.
The second most common thing that myself and people I know apologize for is, well, ourselves. Often, I’ll hear – and even say myself sometimes – “I’m sorry I’m such a mess”. The problem with that is that it’s a self-defeating sentence that isn’t doing anyone any good, and definitely isn’t making you look any better to the person you’re talking to. If you’re sitting there calling yourself a mess out loud to someone, they start to hold you in lower esteem and might even begin to start thinking that you’re incapable. What you say about yourself to others is what they’ll begin to think is true, even if it may not be. So if you’re constantly calling yourself a mess and pointing out your negative qualities, that’s what the other person will see in you. Instead of apologizing for “being a mess” or whatever the negative quality may be, try replacing that phrase with, “Thank you for sticking with me at times when I don’t have it all together” or “Thank you for being patient with me, I’ve been a little scatter-brained lately”. If it’s someone you’re close with, replace a tired “I’m sorry” with “Thank you for loving me despite my flaws”.
This little act is not that hard when you stop and think about it. Not only will this help your own mindset to become less self-loathing and more grateful and positive in daily life, it’ll also cause others to view you in a more positive light. Also, as I mentioned before, it’s just simply more sincere than “sorry”, which is probably the most used word in the English language. Does your friend who you kept waiting for fifteen minutes really deserve the same “I’m sorry” as the stranger you knock elbows with at the grocery store?
Excessively apologizing creates a negative mindset, even just subconsciously, so do yourself a favor and try to stop apologizing for every little thing that you do. There’s often other, better ways to convey your message, and other times that you simply don’t owe an explanation or an apology to someone. When you find yourself starting to apologize and use the s-word, stop and replace it with a “thank you”. Save the “sorry” for strangers when you don’t really mean it.