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The word you say 25 times a day is holding you back.

The word you say 25 times a day is holding you back.

It’s the one word we use WAY too often.

In the words of that old copper-haired crooner, Elton John, sorry seems to be the hardest word. Well, that’s not the case for many women, myself included. We say “sorry” as automatically as we say “yes” or “hello” and probably more frequently.

I say ‘sorry’ at the drop of a hat for the smallest things that are, more often than not, in no way my fault.

Just yesterday I was at the supermarket, where a man very inconsiderately parked his trolley across the aisle while he looked for something, blocking my path. Instead of saying, “Can you please move your trolley?” what did I say? You bet I did…”sorry”. As if the fact he had left his trolley parked in a ridiculous spot was in some way my fault.

What on earth did I say sorry for? The man was being an idiot, HE should have been the one apologising.

Read more: Sorry Kate, but the Queen won’t be woken for news of baby number 2.

He reluctantly moved his trolley out of my way, in no great hurry, and I smiled as I went past. I’m pretty sure I even uttered the word “sorry” again as I passed.

A few days before that, I was standing in a queue at a café when a waitress rushed past me and accidentally stood on my foot. What did I say? You betcha, “sorry”. Let’s be clear here, she stood on my foot not the other way around. If she’d spilled the coffee she was carrying on me I probably would have said sorry too.

These are only two examples that I can recall. I know I’ve said sorry way more times in the past week, and for no good reason.

So why do women insist on apologising all the time? You may have noticed that most men, on the other hand, don’t feel the need to do this.

In most cases saying sorry is nothing more than an automatic reaction, a space filler, something we seemingly have no control over.

But perhaps it’s time to take some control of our apologising?

I can’t help but feel that by constantly saying sorry, for things that are not our fault, we are undervaluing ourselves, and our self-esteem. It can also create an imbalance in our personal and professional relationships, sending the message to others that we think we are always responsible for any conflict or miscommunication.

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Of course there are instances where sorry IS the right word to say. Like when you’ve genuinely hurt someone’s feelings, or when you do something thoughtless that causes another person anguish, or when you accidentally knock someone when you’re passing on the street.

But by overusing it in the wrong circumstances we end up taking the substance and meaning out of the word.

Read more: The photo that forced a world famous fashion designer to say sorry.

If you think you’re in the habit of apologising for no good reason, here are 5 tips to help you STOP saying sorry…

1. Firstly, think about how frequently you say the word. Is it often the first word to escape your lips? Do you often begin a question with “Sorry…”? If the answer is yes, then you are probably saying it too much.

2. Before the word “sorry” escapes your lips, stop for a minute and think “Did I actually do something wrong?”

3. If the answer to the above is no, then ask yourself, “Do I really want to communicate that I think I did?”

4. If the answer to this is also no, then shut it down a-sap. Bite your tongue if you have to. Ideally, if the situation doesn’t require a response, then you will keep your mouth closed and just smile. And let the moment pass. You don’t need to say ANYTHING.

5. If the situation does require a response then try saying it another way. Like, instead of saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you” try “Can you please speak up?” Which is just as polite. Or if you bump into someone accidentally, and it’s a mutual mistake, then try a simple “oops”. Or if you drop something and someone kindly picks it up for you then roll with a “thank you.”

And enjoy the empowerment that abstaining from saying sorry brings!

Do you apologise too often?

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