Last weekend I went away on vacation to Fraser Island, just north of where I’ve been living on the Gold Coast, Australia. On the morning we were heading out, everything was running smoothly – bags were packed, 2 dirty chai lattes were on their way, and our tour bus was due to arrive any minute. I’d been waiting a while already when the bus pulled up. I watched everyone load their bags and hop on board, so I asked the barista: “Sorry I’m running late for my bus – are those coffees on the way?”
She handed me 2 banana smoothies. Not quite what I ordered.
“Sorry, I ordered 2 dirty chais…”
She fixed the drinks, and I boarded the bus, coffee in hand, with 27 pairs of un-impressed eyes on me (embarrassing), but all I could think was:
Why was I so sorry?
Maybe it’s my Canadian blood that makes me so apologetic. That’s one thing I’ve noticed in Australia: people only say sorry when they really mean it.
Think about what your unnecessary apology is really saying.
You’re taking the blame, and carrying the weight of it – even if it’s as small as being given the wrong coffee. The more it becomes a habit the more you start to believe you’re the one in the wrong.
If you’ve truly done something wrong, by all means, say you’re sorry.
But if you haven’t, you’ll probably find it doesn’t feel too god to say the S word otherwise.
Here are some things you never need to apologize for:
- being served the wrong coffee
- being given bad service
- someone else’s behaviour
- your weight, size or clothing style
- asking for something you need – including help in a tough situation.
At yoga teacher training you’re taught never to apologize during your class. It’s drilled into your head. It’s one thing to acknowledge that maybe you said something silly or the heat is too high, but don’t draw attention to it, don’t dwell on it, and don’t take ownership of something out of your control. You’ll watch your energy spiral downward as you carry the weight of it.
Just do your best, and respect yourself enough to know when NOT to apologize.
It’s been a while, and I was going to write you to say sorry for not being in touch (no joke). This lesson couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s good to be back, and I’ve missed hearing from you!
Us Canadians are renowned for passing around the S word like it’s a hockey puck. What’s the culture around saying sorry where you come from? Have you found yourself feeling weird for saying sorry but doing it anyway?
Leave a comment below and share your story! I’d love to hear from you.
Lots of love, always.