Men, are you an apologizer? Do you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” a lot?
I’m not talking about when you truly messed something up, created pain or difficulty for someone else, or need to take ownership in a situation. “I’m sorry” are two important words that can help heal people and situations.
“I’m sorry” can also be dis-empowering. It can be used so often, so flippantly, and so unconsciously that it has little meaning.
When you arrive a few minutes late to a meeting because you were helping a colleague with something important, are you really sorry arriving late? Is it more powerful to say “I’m sorry,” or “Thank you for waiting for me”?
Which one acknowledges the kindness and generosity of the others in the room? Which one makes you appear intentional in your actions?
If you spill your latte at the coffee shop, which one will show greater appreciation for the worker cleaning it up, “I’m sorry” or “Thank you for cleaning up my mess”? Which one takes ownership and conveys appreciation?
Are you feeling the difference between saying “I’m sorry” and “Thank you for…”?
If you forgot your ID and someone needed to look you up by another method, are you going to say “I’m sorry”? What would happen if you said, “Thank you for looking that up for me.” How does the energy change between you and the other person?
There is a time and place for “I’m sorry”.
Using it appropriately and authentically will mean much more when you say it to someone.
Replacing “I’m sorry” with “Thank you for…” in those automatic, almost reflexive responses, will empower you to maintain your boundaries, show intention, and engage the other person in a respectful manner.
What do you often say “I’m sorry” when “Thank you for…” would work better?