Sorry for walking too slow, sorry for walking too fast.
Sorry for talking too much, sorry for not talking enough.
Sorry for trying too hard and sorry for not trying enough.
I feel like I’m in one of those group therapy sessions where I announce to the group “Hi I’m Sophie and I’m a compulsive apologiser” then everyone chimes in with a dull “Hi Sophie”, except I’m here announcing this not really knowing if anyone reading this will be there to say “Hi Sophie” back.
I wanted to chat about something today that has been playing on my mind; my excessive use of the word sorry at the end of everything I say. Okay so it might not be at the end of every single sentence, but geez I do say it enough for it to get on other peoples nerves. I wasn’t fully aware of how much I did this until recently so I don’t quite know when it started but I do know that it’s in full swing now, much to mine and others dismay.
I was at work a few weeks ago and I had a pile of shoes, boxes and paper surrounding me as the lady I was helping wanted to try on pretty much every shoe we had in stock. I felt overwhelmed as I usually do when I try to make sure that the seemingly endless supply of tissue paper doesn’t get in the way (even though it always does) and each pair of shoes goes back into the right box because god forbid theres an odd pair been packed away, the absolute horrors of working in a shoe store.
So off I went “Sorry for all the paper… sorry for the mountain of shoe boxes… sorry that you don’t like those shoes… sorry, sorry, sorry.” I didn’t even know how much I was saying it, it was like my subconscious was blurting it out before I even realised what I was apologising for. The lady said to me “You really don’t need to keep apologising, it’s fine, you haven’t done anything wrong.” Can you guess what I said next? “Oh I didn’t even realise, I’m so sorry” followed by us both having a little giggle as there I went once again apologising for apologising, it was a right mess to say the least. She walked away with her shoes and I was left to spend the rest of my shift and the past few weeks with it playing on my mind.
So why do I say it then?
Is just my equivalent of filler words such as ‘umm’ and ‘like’? Or is there a little bit more to it?
I’m not a psychologist by any means but I don’t think I’m just throwing it around because my brains like ‘screw it chuck another sorry in there just to spice things up’, I honestly think its due to the fact that I’ve been shut down so many times. I’ve been spoken over and ignored ever since I was in primary school, I’ve been pushed off the sidewalk when walking with more than one person, I’ve been left to sit in the back seat of the car while the people sat in the front forget I’m still there. Now I’m going to stop all that soppy woe me stuff right there, this isn’t a pity party for 1 and honestly it’s okay that all that stuff happened, sure it’s not fun at the time but it happened and that’s just the way it goes. I do think that this must’ve had some sort of effect though, even just going off the fact that I can still vividly recall most of the times it happened.
When I’m out with someone it doesn’t matter how long I’ve known them or how close we are there’s those thoughts spinning around my mind constantly that I’m annoying and they don’t want to be there. I’m sat there with a pile of bricks all labelled with the word sorry that I’m prepared to stack onto of the ever growing wall to try and protect myself from feeling the way I do, so far its not working and the walls already pretty damn high.
People do tell me that I don’t have to apologise all the time and I wish it were that simple, that I could just talk about my day or walk behind people when there isn’t enough space for me to walk next to them and feel content that “No Sophie they don’t hate you, there’s just not enough room and they do want to hear about what you’ve been doing so just tell them” but I can’t anymore and that’s where ‘sorry’ comes into play.
To start the process of getting rid of these negative thoughts I’m plagued with I’m going to try to turn my apologies into thank you’s. For example, instead of saying “I’m sorry I mess up all the time” I’m going to say “Thank you for being there for me even through the mistakes I make” and “I’m sorry for talking so much” into “Thank you for listening to what I have to say”. Making these small changes will hopefully overtime become more of a natural reaction to things and give me a more positive outlook. I don’t have the magic cure to fix it but putting in the effort to make these small changes will hopefully set me, and you as well, on the right track.
a little nervous okay I’m pretty freaking nervous to share this more personal stuff but I’m going to suck it up, put on my big girl pants and my chunky boots that make me feel a lot more confident than usual and share my honest experience in the hope that it makes even one of you feel a bit less alone. I’m stronger than all of this and so are all of you but that doesn’t mean we should just act like our lives are perfect when in reality no ones is, if we talk about the bad stuff it might be able to help us process it and move on or at the very least it lifts a bit of the weight off.
Sorry if I wasn’t spreading all the sunshine today, I want to spread positivity to all of you but with the positivity needs to come a bit of the not so fun realness. But hey if I can deal with it then you can too and hopefully soon we’ll be able to leave the apologies for when we accidentally step on someones cupcake (major apologies needed to solve that sort of heartbreak).
Please reach out to someone if you’re experiencing harmful and negative thoughts, you are worth so much more than the thoughts you have may lead you to believe. I’m always here if you need to talk to someone.
All the love.