I’m sorry that I’m always sorry

September 4, 2015

Dear Max

Last week I was giving you cough medicine and I spilt some on your shirt. I said sorry, as I was sorry, but then I said sorry two more times, just to make sure that you knew I meant it, or to overcompensate, I guess. You said: “Mom, you don’t need to apologise” which was not only a sweet thing to say, but a catalyst for my thinking of my use of saying sorry.

I say it a lot of times, and sometimes not once in a sentence or context, but twice or three times. I think it’s manners to apologise for doing something “wrong” or making a mistake and taking responsibility for it, which I think I do, but it’s another thing entirely to almost say sorry for my presence and being, and try and excuse them with a sorry.

I’m very big on saying:
“Sorry to hassle you…”
“Sorry, but can you help with this…”
“Sorry, but I’m not feeling well. I’m going to lie down”
“Sorry, can I ask you a favour…”
“I’m sorry, but can I have the salad without avocado. Sorry for the hassle”
“Sorry for all the questions, but…”

There’s a great ad from Pantene that did the rounds early last year about reminding women not to apologise for everything. It was a wonderful reminder and inspiring message, but unfortunately it lasted in my head and actions for less than a day before I was back to old habits (it’s the same with many of those “love yourself” or “you’re beautiful” campaigns – great messages, but they get lost after about one day of the “old-brain thinking” kicking in).

However, it was your words that reminded me that one sorry is enough (like when I accidentally spill medicine), and that I don’t really need to apologise for my preferences, questions or need for someone’s time).

There’s a difference between being polite and having manners, and apologising for taking up space. I’m thinking a lot of what it says about me when I over-apologise, and I’m considering what others think of me when sorry seems to be my easiest word.

Sorry for saying sorry a lot unnecessarily, and for possibly teaching you a similar sorry lesson. Let’s focus on the manners, and let’s focus on feeling okay when we ask for no dressing, or for someone’s help. It’s part of the self love and acceptance, I guess.


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1 Comment

  • Toni

    I often say ‘no, sorry’ to beggars at robots. It’s a habit I’m trying to stop as it’s completely ridiculous to apologise for not giving away my hard earned money.

    September 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm Reply
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