Saying "Thank You" Instead of "I'm Sorry": choosing grace and gratitude
What we say to others matters. And what we say to others is related to what we say to ourselves. Our thoughts influence how we feel about ourselves and how we respond to life, so self-talk (or inner dialogue) has the power to increase self-confidence, squash negative feelings, and build strong relationships.
One way to sabotage that power is to apologize for our very existence. Seriously, stop and think about how often you say "I'm sorry" when it's not necessary. We say "sorry" on autopilot, very often in trivial situations that are out of our control or that do not warrant an apology.
When we over-apologize, we give away our power. We introduce an unjustified sense of shame and vulnerability, and place responsibility on someone else to assuage our guilt and forgive us for something that does not even require forgiveness. We give the power of our own feelings away to others and assign responsibility for them to offer their approval and acceptance. When we over-apologize, we end up decreasing our self-confidence, increasing our own negative feelings, and damaging relationships.
While sincere apologies absolutely hold an important role in relationship building, "autopilot sorries" serve no purpose and need to go.
The Power of "Thank You"
“Thank you” is used to express gratitude and appreciation for others. It’s a very powerful phrase that takes away from ourselves and gives warmth to those around us. The amount of appreciation we express, and our ability to sincerely say “thank you” has a dramatic impact on how we relate to others.
When we say "thank you," we recognize the contribution of another person and foster positivity in the relationship. When we say "I'm sorry," we turn the attention to our own behavior and place responsibility on the person we claim to have troubled.
Saying "thank you" focuses on grace and gratitude: grace for our selves and gratitude for others. And we could all use more grace and gratitude in life.
Read the examples in the graphic below, and consider how you might shift your own words to shift your mindset and your relationships. Speak with grace for yourself and gratitude for others.
You talk to yourself more than anyone else! Your self-talk matters. It matters a lot. Try to pause and pay more attention to your inner dialogue. Be kind. Recognize your true self. Give yourself grace.
Written by Laura B. Demers, © 2021 Reclamation Sisters