1 | Emotions
I feel what I feel. I can't always control or change emotions and I'm learning to appreciate them (all of them) as useful information.
So instead of saying: "I'm sorry I felt angry with you."
I might say: "I feel angry and I'm working to understand why this was triggering for me."
2 | Anxiety
Anxiety arises for real reasons even when it's tricky to identify them. I try to honor my own experience and those of others by slowing down and practicing mindfulness in anxious moments rather than trying to push it away.
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I'm really anxious right now!"
I might say: "I need a minute to myself. I'll be back soon."
3 | Trauma
Experiences are considered traumatic based on the way the brain processes them, not based on comparison to other experiences. An experience of emotional abandonment or experiencing severe illness can be traumatic. It doesn't really serve me to compare and contrast traumas. It does serve me well to acknowledge and accept them as real.
So instead of saying: "I don't mean to sound dramatic but that was kind of traumatic for me."
I might say: "That experience impacted me deeply." (That's all! Because I don't owe anyone an explanation.)
4 | Harmless Mistakes
When I accidentally say something when I mean to say something else, I frequently apologize. I think I feel a tiny bit of shame for having made a mistake or failing to speak according to my intentions. But usually no harm comes from my mistake and I want to refrain from apologizing unnecessarily.
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I meant to say this."
I might say: "I meant to say this." (I simply drop the "sorry"! One small choice with a huge outcome for me.)
5 | Minor Inconvenience
During meetings, if I need to pause to take care of my daughter, get some water, or use the bathroom I might be tempted to apologize for the inconvenience. Usually, these are small inconveniences for the meeting and don't require an apology. I can be considerate without an apology!
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I need to take a break to do something."
I might say: "Is this a good time for a 3-minute break?"
6 | Learning
When I'm new at something things are bound to go less than smoothly as I get my bearings. I want to accept my learning process without shame for the time it takes.
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I'm new at this."
I might say: "Thanks for your patience while I'm learning!"
7 | Imperfections
I know I have a tendency to see things as either this or that without much possibility for gray area. It's a struggle I've always had and it contributes to my own frustrations as well as other people's. I want to be consistently reasonable. I'm only human and I'm working on it!
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I know I tend to have 'black and white' thinking."
I might say: "Yes, my thinking can be rigid sometimes. What's your perspective on this?"
8 | Priorities
Sometimes it's hard for us to understand another person's order of priorities. Someone might want me to consider something a higher priority than I do and that's okay.
So instead of saying: "Sorry, I know you want me to focus on this more."
I might say: "I'll work hard to complete my commitment but I need to prioritize another project at the moment."
9 & 10 | Beliefs & Values
Beliefs & values are widely varied among my family and friends. I want to respect our differences as well as what we have in common.
So instead of saying: "I'm sorry we don't see this the same way."
I might say: "It seems like we hold different values. Tell me more about what you believe."
Tell me in the comments, what have you stopped apologizing for and why?