When we are young, most of us are taught to apologize when we’ve made a mistake or hurt someone. However, as an adult, I’ve noticed the opposite. There’s this “never apologize” trend going on. Maybe you’ve read a blog post about how people (especially women) apologize “too much.” Or perhaps you’ve been told by a mentor to stop apologizing. Personally, I think this has gone a little too far. I get the whole be kind to yourself and set boundaries thing, however, I don’t believe apologizing negatively impacts your self-esteem. In fact, I think it helps.
Do you ever apologize for something that might not be 100% your fault? Let’s say you and a stranger physically bump into each other while walking. No harm done, and you are not sure who is at fault. What do I do? Being from the midwest, I say “ope sorry!” or something of that nature, and I don’t think about it ever again.
That’s easy. The challenge is when you actually screw up.
Maybe you made a mistake at work, or you accidentally said something insensitive to your significant other. Is owning up to your mistake a sign of weakness? No! It means you were strong enough to reflect on your words/actions. It means you were strong enough to acknowledge your flaws and admit them to someone else. Someone with a healthy level of self-esteem will not be overly defensive as they understand that all humans are flawed. If the other party views you as weak/takes advantage of you, then that’s another story for another blog post. That person is not your friend.
Yes, apologizing is a form of submission. My question is why do we label submission as a “bad thing” in our society? Why do we advise people not to apologize as a way to protect themselves? The outcome is unhealthy. Wouldn’t it be more productive to address the root of the issue, which is over-domination? We need balance. You can’t fight fire with fire.
So, next time you screw up, apologize and don’t think about it too much. Swallow your pride and remember that the discomfort of admitting you’re wrong is temporary. I firmly believe this type of discomfort helps us raise our vibration and benefits us in the long term. Internally, we establish humility (one of my favorite qualities in a person), and externally, we gain the respect of others.