I want to share with you some of the shifts I’ve been working on. Here’s one of them:
I’ve noticed how often I say “I’m sorry” for something. Do you do that a lot? Start noticing.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call back earlier.”
‘I’m sorry I’m late.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t finish that task.”
When you say “I’m sorry” in those contexts, you make it all about you.
Pay attention to how much better this sounds:
“Thanks for your patience.”
“Thank you for waiting for me.”
“Thank you for taking the time to … ”
You’ve shifted the focus from being all about you (in a self-deprecating way) to lifting up the other person and making it about them (which it truly is). So where is “I’m sorry” appropriate? When you truly feel like you’ve done something you didn’t want or mean to do, and you want to apologize for it AND when you can do it without making yourself feel bad.
Example: You say something that unintentionally offends someone. You can then say, “I’m so sorry that you were hurt from what I said” (or whatever variation of that you choose). NOT because you’re a terrible person for unintentionally hurting someone’s feelings, but because you realize it has nothing to do with you, and you want to apologize for it.
I’ve been making this shift a lot lately, and it’s taken all the emphasis off of making it about me, to making it about the other person.
If you try it, let me know how it goes.