I’m done with I’m Sorry

Like many individuals, I spent my 20s and younger 30s “finding myself.” It was a time of growth and self-reflection. During this time, I realized that life was too short to hang on to anger and negativity. Subsequently, I am now quick to apologize. However, this quickness to mend relationships caused an instinct to always mutter “I’m sorry” at everything. I think it hit a new low when I was on a girl’s trip. The winery lost our reservation, but was quick to remedy the problem by fitting us in. We kept muttering, “I’m sorry” as we watched them have to scramble a bit to fit us in their packed schedule. It dawned on me, I really didn’t mean I’m sorry. What I really meant was “I have gratitude for what you are doing.” In fact, we had absolutely nothing to apologize for; we had done nothing wrong. What we were feeling was gratitude, not regret.

I started noting how many times I muttered “I’m sorry” when it was more of a reflex and less authentic. I would call home to check on the children. My husband would mention that he took the kids to the zoo or some other fun activity, and I would say “I’m so sorry I’m not there to help.” What I meant was “thank you being an amazing dad and husband and allowing me a few days of no responsibility. It means the world to me.” I caught myself again after I failed a few times trying to parallel park (seriously who knows how to do this?!?) and I exclaimed, “I’m sorry this is so tough for me.” What I really meant was “thank you for not laughing at me and being patient as I try to squeeze this car into an impossible spot.” Lastly, I caught myself saying sorry for having an earlier flight than my friend as we woke extra early to get to the airport. I started saying, “I’m sorry you have to get there early for my flight” but stopped myself in the middle of the statement in order to reflect, “Thank you so much for coming early with me. It was such an amazing trip!”

I’m now going to quit with the I’m sorry. I have no idea what this will look like in relationships because all couples need to make repair attempts at some point… because marriage, right?!? I imagine a repair attempt after an argument would look something like this, “Thank you for loving me even when I lose my temper and escalate things more than I should have. I love you.” So maybe that is it. More thank yous, more I love yous, more I appreciate yous, and less I’m sorry. I’m going to put this to the test and see what happens to me and my relationships!   

Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S

Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/