Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Do you ever think about how many times a day you say, “I’m sorry” when you aren’t actually sorry? Personally, I‘ve said sorry more than 10x a day for things I didn’t even do or things I’m actually not sorry about. If you’re going to say those words don’t you think they should have meaning? I’m sorry should mean something - not just be said.
I’ve said sorry to stupid things like great ideas that we’ve implemented at work. I’ve said sorry for firing someone who obviously wasn’t doing their job well enough to keep it. I’ve said sorry to people close to me for the sake of saying it because it seemed like the right thing to say in the moment. If I’m not cognizant of what I’m saying it seems like the words, “I’m sorry” start sentences because it’s comfortable for me. I realized that for whatever reason I’ve started to doubt myself and I needed to take my power back. I was saying “I’m sorry” because I didn’t feel confident in what was about to come out of my mouth.
I’m not saying that you should say I’m sorry when you are - I’m saying that you should find other things to say to show empathy. I talk a lot about empowerment at work, I also talk about being seen as a partner, not just a task taker. You can’t possibly be seen as an equal if you constantly accept blame. Think about that.... every time you accept blame you discredit yourself and your abilities.
Here are a few ways to express empathy without accepting blame:
“I can see that’s frustrating, here’s what I can do”
“I can help with that”
You can also pause and think about a thoughtful response, just remove the “I’m sorry” from the start of that sentence.