One of the biggest energy drains facing women, and some men, today is apologizing.
In this blog I’m going to cover:
My wakeup moment regarding useless apologies
Who apologies more and why
How to curb this huge energy drain
I recall the first time I realized this sorry posture or apology approach was ineffective.
I was 15 years old and attending the More Institute in Southern California weekend courses. I had just finished a course in Basic Communication. In the course I’d learned how cool it was to keep factually-based communications flowing and to let go of unnecessary editorial viewpoints, also known as diarrhea of the mouth when it comes to exaggerated explanations.
On Monday I was back at school and work. I had been delayed getting from school to home to change clothes to work and was running 5-10 minutes late. I worked in a high-end restaurant in Hacienda Heights called Cattleman’s Wharf with a boss who was a stickler for being on early not on time.
As I drove toward work, I was practicing my pitch, or excuse as it were, and drumming up all sorts of fantastic reasons for my late-ass drama. As I drummed up 4 or 5 different scenarios, I realized I was using up a lot of mental energy, stopped dead in my mental tracks, and made the decision to walk in, punch the clock and go to work. If my boss asked why I was late I’d say the truth, I got caught up in a project and lost track of time. This is exactly what happened. I was right and my boss accepted my simple answer without further questions or hardship.
From that day forward I curtailed my excuses and long-winded apologizing and sorry-ass excuses.
However, this is not about bad manners. If I’m in public and I bump into someone or step on their toe I’m going to be polite and apologize. But, when it comes down to interpersonal situations and communications, I’m going to be frank and straight forward in an attractive fashion in order to take care of business.
The topic today is for folks who are prone to apologizing by going into long-ass explanations on why they will or will not want to do something, or why they already did something that the other person doesn’t understand.
Many times, the person they’re apologizing to never ask for an explanation. Frankly, I find most women or men who tend to do this have an issue with low self-esteem and or tend to be people-pleasers. But, you know you’re better than that!
Many of these apologies come from guilt or self-blame. There are a number of studies on this matter which do a great job of giving the statistics on just how common this issue is. Author Amy Morin covers it in her article I’m Sorry.
Not only does the average women apologize for herself, but also for others such as children, domestic partners, and others. It’s Important to distinguish that I’m not focused on offensive behavior as much as I’m interested in exploring why she’s explaining herself.
This may apply to a few men, but I’ve never met a man who does it to the degree women are inherently doing it and it’s time to stop this ineffective habit in order to be more efficient with your energy.
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because women, who are often people-pleasers, and are more emotional beings than men (overall), are simply raised that way. All through history women have been relegated to the supportive roles in the household, and along with the miraculous ability to create another human being (exclusive to females), they are more compassionate, caring, nurturing, and nice because it is required of them.
This condition places women in situations where explanations are generally expected. Women are often more victimized than men, just due to sheer size and strength (Again, generalities). But this serves to reinforce the ridiculous idea that women are doing something wrong that must be explained and validated to everyone else’s satisfaction.
Through my years of coaching, I began to notice that women who are climbing the corporate ladder or, are stretching into any position with a leadership goal, tend to explain less and less as they climb into their desired roles.
It’s been reported that the number of women who hold high educational degrees, such as Ph.D.’s is going to be about 50/50 with men as of 2020. So, men get ready, women are on the fast track and they are going to bust in and take the world to a whole new level of fabulousness… and believe me, they won’t be apologizing to anyone!
Our lives transform when we can notice our thoughtless, habitual behaviors and responses, and make conscious changes. Learning to curb the apologetic approach to your life, is simply a matter of paying attention to what you’re really saying during any conversation.
Take a deep breath next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do or asks why you did something a particular way, and practice keeping your reason to the facts, not elaborate explanations.
Occasionally a situation will warrant being prepared to explain a bit, and you’ll give them just enough information to answer the inquiry and then shut up. Let's see what happens when you address the question with very little energy given.
Remember you are enough and you don’t need to prove otherwise, so don’t ramble on; it belittles you, and it’s annoying.
Practice simply paying attention to yourself and your autopilot thoughts and conversations.
Pay attention to top-brass women and see if you can duplicate their ability to respond to questions thrown at them in interviews or in your own work environment.
In conclusion, communication is a huge part of our lives both professionally and personally. Our methods of communication tell others something specific about our character. Understanding some of the intricacies which dampen our efficiency in conveying our emotions and thoughts can go a long way toward improved clarity and a stronger sense of self.
Not sure where to start? Never fear! Camber’s here!
My website, emails, and blogs are under the editorial wings of Caitlin Crest, boss of Zephyr Graphics & Web Design.