Why do I always say sorry?

Have you ever noticed that you seem to say sorry for every little thing? Such as brushing past someone to get off a train, or coughing, or expressing an important opinion. Some people may notice that they never say sorry at all. We thought we would explore a little more the meaning of this word.

We had a think about the last time we said ‘sorry’. For a few people that was within the last hour or few and was a mixture of things we didn’t need to say sorry for and some where we had a concern that we had potentially hurt someone, so the apology was almost an explanation so our meaning was not misunderstood. Someone had also said sorry to a cat.

We then thought about the last time we intentionally apologised, and was this different? We agreed that an intentional apology was when we realised that we had caused offence or hurt or made a mistake. Apologies here were born from feelings of guilt, worry, not wishing to be seen as bad, and a desire to repair what had gone wrong. People said they felt relief when they apologised in this way, and generally people did not find this hard to do as it was like a burden lifted.

So what about all these unnecessary ‘sorry’ words we say? We dug a little deeper and realised that sometimes we had hold onto messages from childhood about being to blame for significantly tragic family events, or being bad, or not being wanted, or being in the way. The ‘sorry’ that becomes so frequently whispered is almost an apology for existing and causing so much trouble.

We began to connect ‘sorry’ to our sense of responsibility. Healthy self-responsibility is able to see which part (if any!) does belong to us, and we own that part, and also see what is not ours to carry. This is healthy for relationships where in communication responsibility is owned rather than blame being thrown. People also began to link ‘sorry’ to low self-esteem, being a ‘people-pleaser’ and low self-worth and self-confidence. Growing self-worth and confidence is a big part of this group; learning to value ourselves and not take all the blame to maintain peace.

We talked a little about what it feels like when people say sorry to us, and maybe what is it about when people feel unable to say sorry; sometimes it can be too painful to admit what has gone wrong, especially if we feel we are wrong!

So having been to some deep places today, we made sure that people were feeling ok after the conversation, and ended with our good notice board about things to be thankful for this week.

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