Living In Gratitude: Stop Autopilot Apologies

You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce. ~Tony Gaskins

We all know people who apologize for everything, even if they’ve done nothing wrong. Maybe we’re actually one of those people.

There are times when an apology is warranted, but when we say we’re sorry for anything that makes us remotely ill at ease, this can quickly become a harmful habit, lowering our self-esteem, justifying other people’s poor behavior or actions, and turning us into a pushover.

Have you ever apologized when someone bumped into you in a crowded restaurant or store? Or when a peer critiqued your work? How about when someone did a chore or task that you were supposed to do but didn’t? Or maybe when you wanted someone to explain something in more detail?

This automatic apologetic reaction many of us have is used to diffuse confrontation, placate others and avoid making things awkward. That unwarranted apology automatically lets others know we believe we are at fault, even if we’re not.

And the more we make this autopilot apologizing a routine, the more we’ll use it in situations that DO matter. They also communicate that we’d rather be agreeable than honest. Over time, people will begin to see us as pushovers, someone who will take the blame, be the fall guy or girl and can (and will) be taken advantage of.

Pushover logo

So, how do we stop this pushover behavior?

Have An Apology Recap

When we find ourselves issuing an apology, we should ask ourselves two key questions.

  1. “Did I actually do something wrong?”
  2. And if not, “Did I want to communicate that I think I did something wrong?”

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Living In Gratitude: Before Your Speak…THINK

This T.H.I.N.K concept is a gentle reminder to consider what we say before we say it. It allows us to communicate from a place of thoughtfulness and consideration. By employing the T.H.I.N.K. process, our messages come across more clearly and are better received and as such, our relationships benefit. It allows us to be aware of how emotions play a part in our communication.

I have a friend who always uses this theory, especially in tough situations. It doesn’t mean she can’t communicate her feelings and needs but it enables her to do so in a way that doesn’t inflame the situation while getting her message across in a gentle, kind, yet firm manner with everyone in her life. This is one of the things I greatly admire, appreciate and respect about her.

How we say things as well as what we say play huge roles in our ability to communicate. Keeping in mind the T.H.I.N.K. theory to help guide us as we speak with friends, family, coworkers, managers, strangers, children, telemarketers and everyone we encounter on a daily basis.

T – Is it true?

Is our message fact or is it an exaggeration coming from a place of frustration, irritation or anger? If what we want to say is indeed true, move to the next step. Read more