You open your mouth and an apology comes out. You don’t know where it comes from or why it happened. It is just there. It happens as naturally as breathing does. You don’t question it or second guess it. You just sort of deal with it and accept it as being part of who you are, even if it does not make sense.

I get it because I’m that way too. Growing up as the oldest child in a toxic environment taught me that apologizing is how you keep the peace in a situation. You assume responsibility for someone else’s mood, good or bad, and you apologize for the choices they make. You rush to fix something that is not your fault. Then you apologize for not resolving the situation fast enough.

Somewhere in your journey someone has made you feel that you are not good enough. Now apologizing becomes your way of life. You constantly find yourself chasing the level of self-worth that makes apologizing no longer necessary. All of that leads to you feeling responsible for how everyone around you handles life. That apologetic cycle continues until you decide to do something about it.

Here are four ways you can learn to stop apologizing and start living the life you deserve.

#1: Embrace the Vulnerability

Your need to apologize comes in uncomfortable moments. When you think you failed at something or in making someone happy you apologize. It makes the situation better and keeps you on someone’s good side. That apology helps you prevent a difficult experience from becoming worse. Yet you still walk away with a knot in your stomach.

That’s because your apology is unwarranted and you know it. You need to start holding that apology back when things get uncomfortable. Yes, doing so makes you vulnerable to someone else’s reaction. They are responsible for how they respond to a situation. It is not your job to make things better by issuing an unnecessary apology.

#2: Let Go of Judgment

There is something you want to do but know others are watching. So you avoid doing it, or worse, apologize for giving it a try. When you bring it up in conversations you quickly diminish it with an apology or an explanation. If someone calls the idea ridiculous you quietly apologize for wasting their time with the idea and agree that it doesn’t make sense. Any confidence you had in this idea is now erased.

You need to follow your heart and pursue the idea anyway. Someone will always judge what you do. But they will also judge what you don’t do. So you might as well take a chance on yourself by giving it a try. Doing this without issuing an apology for pursuing something someone else doesn’t understand is an essential part of the process.


#3: Accept That Things End

You continue breathing life into situations and relationships that no longer serve you. When things go wrong you apologize. Doing so keeps the relationship from ending. You apologize a million times over just to keep things together even when you fail to understand your reasons for doing so. Behind each apology you make is the hope that it will be the last one needed because things will change.

Yet somehow you know nothing will change. And that’s okay. Some things in life simply run their course and come to an end. When that happens know it is not your fault. All you should do now is walk away without apologizing for the ending taking place.

#4: Forgive Yourself

You hold yourself responsible for an incredible amount of things in your life. At one point or another a ball you’re juggling is bound to drop. Instead of seeing the weight of the load you’re carrying you apologize for letting something drop. You become angry with yourself in the process. That anger results in words or actions that you will apologize for later.

You have to learn to forgive yourself for not being able to handle everything all at once. You are not a fictional superhero. You can ask for, and expect, help without having to apologize for it. When you mess up own it, forgive yourself for it and move on. Making mistakes, dropping the ball, and other related things, is human nature and not something you need to apologize for.

A Final Thought

Every apology comes with a price tag. Some are affordable, like when your words or actions hurt someone else. The ones you make for things that are not your fault or to keep the peace are costly. Let these four ways of living an unapologetic life be your guide moving forward. Then get to work building the life you deserve.

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