This article will discuss why I don’t like to apologize and the importance of apologizing when necessary.
The myth of resistant people
Throughout my life, I’ve heard friends and family members say something along the lines of, “I just don’t do apologies.”
I never understood that. As a child, I understood that I wanted people to be my friend, but did that mean I wanted to apologize for things I hadn’t done yet or felt guilty about?
Yes, I do.
I didn’t understand that I’m not always a “proud” or “fast-to-apologize” person. I’m definitely not a “strong-in-my-own-right” kind of girl.
Yet, through years of therapy, I’ve discovered the key to being my own advocate is to practice the art of articulating why I am hurt. When I get into the mindset of why I am mad at a situation, I will own my anger and name my discomfort.
Then I take steps to alleviate it.
So if you’re in a situation and you think you might not want to apologize, you can start to do some research or come up with some points on why you might feel defensive or wish to stand your ground.
And here’s the important thing…
You won’t regret it.
It’s not that I am against being apologetic (I will do so if I have to be); it’s just that I don’t like doing it unless I really have to. So I let my guilt guide me, and I’ll avoid it if it’s not worth my time or effort.
But there are many people out there who like to be overly apologetic for everything. This is their way of saying they feel deeply guilty and therefore feel the need to apologize.
They could have just as easily just said, “I feel wronged by you, so I am going to apologize for that.”
Why do I tend to avoid apologizing, or I apologize, but it’s not sincere? I like to stick to three reasons why I don’t like to apologize, and it will help explain why.
I don’t want to appear weak.
I worry people will think I don’t know what I’m talking about if I apologize.
If I do, I worry they’ll take it the wrong way.
I’m fine on my own.
When I used to run my first business, I often talked to people who wanted to work with me. I noticed that I would always apologize to these people when I couldn’t work with them.
This would sometimes create discomfort for me, and some would think I was showing off or arrogant or too good to work with them.
Now that I run a completely separate business and work only with a very select few clients, I can say, “Yes, I’m actually busy, but I appreciate your time, and I will make an appointment to meet with you soon. Let me know.”
It was difficult at first for me to learn not to apologize for any of my own work, but the more I allowed myself to be vulnerable and honest with myself, the easier it became.
You don’t need to be an expert to make a sincere apology, but you need to develop a practice of being honest with yourself and others about your feelings.
This will take practice, but it can be done. This is where you need to spend time just letting your mind go blank and then get down to the basics.
What did you want to say when you were trying to defend yourself?
And what is it that you are angry about?
Now take those feelings and put them into words. Describe to yourself what you are truly feeling, and keep it simple.
For example, if you are angry with someone who criticized you for your work, this might sound like this:
- I feel hurt.
- This feeling of hurt might be your exact thoughts:
- I feel hurt.
- I feel like they lied to me.
- I feel angry.
This feeling might be the actual emotion that you are feeling:
- I feel angry.
- I don’t know how to respond.
- But here’s the great part.
- Here is where you take action and remedy the situation for yourself.
I’m feeling hurt right now. I’m upset that you said that.
I wouldn’t say I like when someone tries to bully me or tell me how to live my life. I’ll need to call a friend and talk to them about this.
I really like this person a lot, but I’m feeling hurt and angry right now. I’ll talk to them soon, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Feel free to use your imagination and creativity to see how this applies to your specific situation. But this is a great example of how you can have a powerful and positive effect in a situation without needing to directly call the other person or use a ‘clicker’ to apologize.
When you let the feelings come up, they naturally dissolve. And once they dissolve, you can start to learn how to heal and move forward with your own feelings.
When you are ready, read the rest of this article for more tips on how to build your confidence and start to feel good about yourself.
What’s your secret to hitting the target?
You’ve probably heard the terms “deep work” or “Intellectual Hustle” before.
This term is the brainchild of Dan Ariely. He has some amazing research that shows you how to get what you want (from writing and networking to even thinking about making love to your partner) if you are willing to put in the time and effort to do it.
Ariely calls it “a commitment to our own potential.” And the more time you invest in building your intellectual and personal muscles, the more time and energy you will have for the things that matter.
Now that you know your secret weapon, it’s time to get to work.