I have been noticing that one of my daughters is always apologizing for literally everything. If I am sad, if she’s sad, if it’s raining and we complain, if she makes a mistake, if her sister gets into trouble - she is sorry for it.
I can totally appreciate that she’s a beautiful, sensitive girl and empathetic person.
However. . . .
I also see in her this shift to wanting to please and make everything ok for everyone, to soften the impact of what is happening to others and perhaps inadvertently take some it on to herself. These are very feminine characteristics and quite beautiful in a sense but also can be very disempowering and almost debilitating in the long run.
It took me until into my 30s to even know this was something I did and why I should stop. Now, I adjust my language in so many ways in and outside of the corporate world and in my entrepreneurial venture.
I have noticed other traits in my language, such as using ‘just’: “I just need a few minutes.” or “I just have a quick question.” etc. I totally believe it’s a lack of confidence and I always do a little thought rodeo when this happens, as I am backspacing, to remind myself that my questions are JUST as valid and deserving of that person’s time as the next.
I encouraged my young lady to think about when she says sorry and if she has actually done anything wrong. She had a massive a-ha moment and said, “WOW. No. I did not.”
We discussed alternative ways of showing she cares about what is happening but not taking on the burden, so to speak. Instead she’s said, “It must be really frustrating that you can’t find your keys, mommy” or “It seems really hard for her to tie her shoes so she gets very mad.” It’s magic and I could see her power coming back.
I encourage you to do an audit on how much you say ‘sorry’. Raise your awareness and see how you are using it and did you really do something wrong? If you tweak your language and use a different combination of words - how does this make you feel?
I would love to hear more from you about this if it resonates with you. Have you cleaned up your language in this way and, if so, what happened?