When you keep apologizing to everyone around you, you give an impression that you are in a ‘sorry’ state. There are situations where apologizing is necessary and appropriate, however over apologizing can cause you to make feelings of guilt part of your attitude and behavior.
You cannot be guilty for who you really are by apologizing for everything. It is very essential for all to be kind, caring and sensitive to others, but over apologizing can confuse others and make them feel detached.
Once you have recognized why you are habitual to apologizing, effective steps can be taken to change.
Over Apologizing Disorder – How to Stop Saying Sorry for No Reason:
1. Identify what, over apologizing indicates of you:
Over apologizing will indicate to you and others that you are repentant or sorry for your very existence. It can be spotted easily that you did precisely nothing wrong but still apologize. Apologizing is not needed when you have nothing to take blame for.
2. Accept differences between gender:
Men have the tendency to apologize often less than women do. Research has established that the reason behind this is because women have a more extensive sense of what signifies as offensive behavior.
3. Observe the effects on others:
You need to recognize how people are affected in your life when you apologize too much. The people may get the feeling that you are inadequate and incompetent and the close ones might even suffer. They may feel that they have been so inconsiderate and behaved threateningly that it is causing you to apologize often.
4. Become conscious:
Know how much of apologizing is considerate too much. If this sounds familiar to you, perhaps you are going overboard. Apologizing when you have disturbed someone, apologizing for a messy room or showing regret when done something wrong is absolutely normal.
5. Track the amount of sorry:
Make a note of everything that you apologize for mentally or in writing and scrutinize it. Contemplate whether the actions were intentional or hurtful as such incidents would really require an apology. Perhaps you find that most of the apologies are to seem humble or to avoid some confrontation.
6. Know what causes you to apologize:
Understand what causes you to apologize impulsively. Keep all your senses awake and note what kind of situation, surrounding, people and mistakes makes you say sorry. Listen to yourself and note your speech patterns.
7. Rediscover if the apology is in order:
Detect whether or not your apology feels like you have resolved something that had offended someone or standard for yourself. You need to have the sense of when an apology is obligatory. It is always your own judgment as to when to apologize or not to and may not be the same rule for all the people.
8. Avoid apologizing on behalf of others:
Perhaps you wanted to avoid a conflict between two people and hence you apologized for a person on behalf of him. But when you do apologize on behalf of them, you cultivate the feeling of resentment as you are taking up that person’s responsibilities along with your own.
9. Express gratitude:
In certain circumstances, it is good to say thank you other than apologizing and creating a sense of guilt inside you. For Example, if your friend has taken out all the trash before you could, say thank you rather apologizing to them for not having done the chore yourself. It is good to give credit to the people who owed.
10. Empathy as an alternative:
Empathy can be used when you are trying to build harmony with other person. Empathy is the ability to step into other’s shoes and understand how they feel. Instead of apologizing for the way they feel, listen to them carefully and express your concern. Empathy is valued greatly than an apology.
11. Make fun of yourself instead:
Perhaps you need to express your awareness about a silly thing you did, so try mocking yourself instead of apologizing about the act. For instance if you have spilled some coffee, you do not need to say sorry.
You can just mention it with laughter and tease your own ridiculousness. Humor has always proved to lighten the mood in intense times and makes the others in a situation feel at ease as well.
Ask yourself what is your intention behind an apology. Ask if you are trying to lower yourself or are trying to look different from others. Explore the answers to such questions. Write down open answers to these.
Also deliberate about who you apologize to, most often. Is it your boss or significant others in your life. Observe these relationships and consider what your apologies are trying to accomplish in these relationships.
13. Delve into your own feelings:
You are restraining your own feelings when you apologize too frequently. Perhaps an apology is about how you will be seen differently by a person in the end and less about how you feel in a situation. Discover your emotions when you are tempted to apologize and note what you find.
14. Be honest with yourself:
Become honest with yourself if you really wish to stop the habit of over apologizing. Are you trying to hide your true feelings from others with an apology? Or are you intimidated by someone? Perhaps you can talk to your close ones about it or research about raising your self-esteem.
15. Acknowledge mistakes as part of life:
Everyone is well aware that all make mistakes and for silly mistakes like spilling coffee or getting a stain on shirt, apologies are not necessary. When you know all are fallible you realize that goofing up is not that big of a deal. Mistakes would help us grow and thus you do not need to focus on the blunders you make but focus on the experience it provides you.
16. Get rid of any lingering guilt:
Regular apologies can indicate that you are a person who is guilty of many things other than just the wrong doings. Become more compassionate towards yourself and set realistic standards and identify the ones that are out of your control.
It is not necessary that you have to be cheerful all the time and when you are not, do not feel guilty. You have to accept the fact that some days are different than others and there will be ups and downs that will be out of your control.
17. Cultivate your own values:
You display a lack of value when you apologize often. You let others set the values for you as you set values based on approvals of others. You depend on other’s reactions to conclude what is right and wrong when you over apologize. Thus you need to set your own values to judge appropriately when to say sorry and when to not.
18. Accept your power:
You say sorry before talking about something or before presenting your idea in the middle of a conversation to not look bossy or assertive. However when you have certain authority, saying sorry will downplay your power and moderates your role. Whenever you are presenting something make sure you respect others and confidently speak your mind and not apologize for doing so.
19. Practice saying no!:
You need to accept the fact that you cannot please all the people surrounding you. It is not humanly possible to take up extra responsibilities or tasks. If you do not have time for something or do not wish to do something then politely refuse to carry out the request without apologizing for declining.
20. Change your vocabulary:
Reserve your sorry for only certain occasions and for other instances learn to say “excuse me” or “pardon”. Swapping the words can bring difference in the way you feel. For instance, if you bump into someone, ‘excuse me’ will be appropriate to state that you own up for the accident but do not apologize for being in their way.
21. Look for sources of reassurance:
Reassurance is what we seek from people close to us when we apologize about something and it assures that we will still be getting the affection and are accepted despite alleged failings. One can involve in techniques to reassure oneself so that they escape from apologizing in a situation.
Affirmation is a way of personalized chanting which will help one to gain self assurance and utilize it to bring about positive change. Positive self talk can be beneficial in eliminating discouraging, guilt filled and insecure thoughts. For instance, when you start feeling that you are inadequate, challenge yourself with thoughts like, “my opinions are valued and people find significance in it”.
You can consider these steps to overcome the habit of frequent apologizing and discover if you are conveying the right message to others. Even if your intentions behind apologizing are good, constant apologizing can generate negative feelings in one and irritate others around. Thus follow the above tips to effectively stop over apologizing.