I was in my bio lab when one of the students in my class turned around too quickly and made awkward eye contact with the person waiting in line behind her. She dropped her gaze and muttered a soft “sorry” before returning to her seat. I thought to myself, “why would she apologize for making eye contact with someone?” That one question made me think about the numerous times I had used the word “sorry” in unnecessary situations. It is one thing to apologize for genuinely hurting someone but another to use the word frequently in day-to-day situations. Excessive use of the word can even become a bad thing. The word “sorry” is an extremely overused word in the English vocabulary that takes away power and confidence of those who use it too often.
Bumping in to someone at the grocery store does not call for an apology and saying “sorry” to get someone’s attention is unneeded. Overusing the word “sorry” can take away from the power of a person. Regular use of the word wears itself like a button on the front pocket of a shirt that reads in bold lettering “submissive”and “of lesser value.”
The word “sorry” also depletes the confidence levels of people who regularly use the word. There is no need to apologize for appearance, opinion, beliefs, background, or ability. As it devalues a person by taking away power, the word strips away confidence due to the thought actually being wrong for looking a certain way, or having a different opinion.
Think about all the times you have apologized unnecessarily. For myself, the times are a few too many to count. But it seems too hard to eliminate a word in a vocabulary if it’s been used for so long, right? Wrong! If one can make a habit, they can break it as well. Making a conscious effort to think about whether or not you are truly sorry for something before unnecessarily apologizing can help to diminish the word from a vocabulary. Try this for 30 days and you’ve made it a habit! It’s time to start showing some self-respect by getting rid of this overused word.