Replacing Apologies With Gratitude

Replacing Apologies With Gratitude

"Thank You" is the new "I'm Sorry."

When I was younger, I was a sounding board for many of my friends who felt they didn't have anyone else to talk to. I heard stories of depression, anxiety, suicide and anything else you can imagine teenagers between the ages of fourteen and sixteen have to say. It was a really demanding and heavy job; I often felt that I had no where to release my own feelings and began to absorb others' on top of my own. Soon, I found myself in a toxic environment where I was doing everything wrong and so I began apologizing for everything, even when there was nothing to apologize for.

Being in a toxic environment is like suffocating; being surrounded by several toxic people at once is like drowning. It's heavy, it's debilitating and you always feel guilty and shameful. Toxic relationships have a way of bringing you down, as if you were shackled to a wall inside a tornado. Manipulative people take your fears and insecurities and their own insecurities and demons, and your life becomes a whirlwind of darkness. You feel as if everything is your fault, because they make it seem like you're to blame. You're not, and sometimes you know you're not, and that's what makes everything harder.

Leaving a toxic relationship of any kind is stressful and scary; you're never quite sure if you'll make it out alive. The first few steps of freedom are light and airy, and you wish you had done it earlier, if only you had known you were being manipulated. The bad times don't stop there though. After leaving a relationship like that, sometimes you take those habits with you long after the fact.

Always feeling as though things are your fault is a common habit that follows you and weaves its way into your other relationships. The roots a toxic person digs into you are so deep, even when you thought you had severed the last of them, there are still seeds hiding underneath your memories.

Often, people don't know how to tell you things aren't your fault. They don't understand where the toxic roots come from, and they don't understand how to comfort you when you feel the way that you do. They often say something like, "Oh my god! Stop apologizing!" or "It's not your fault." Well, we all know it's not your fault, but it's become a habit to feel like it's your fault, so you speak that feeling.

The best way for both parties to decrease the amount of apologizing and animosity toward the constant apologizing is this: simply replace the word 'sorry' with 'thank you'.

When someone is speaking to you about something that is bothering them, do not apologize. Instead try saying, "Thank you for confiding in me." When someone is apologizing for something that isn't their fault, try saying, "Thank you for listening to me." or "Thank you for your concern."

The thank-you-replacement can go for other situations, too.

Instead of apologizing for being late, try saying, "Thank you for waiting for me." Instead of apologizing for speaking your mind, or expressing your feelings, try, "Thank you for understanding and comforting me."

Stop apologizing for everything. It's easier said than done, of course, but it's pretty simple to replace an apology with an expression of gratitude. You will begin to feel less heavy with guilt, and the roots of that toxic relationship will eventually dissolve as you become more thankful for your surroundings.

When I was a junior in high school, and I found myself surrounded by toxicity, I found the clearest way out of the situation and rode the solo wave for a while. It was difficult to repel the signs of red flags I saw in other people; I was always on my guard so that I wouldn't be in a similar situation again. I was so scared of being sucked back into the darkness that I didn't know how to immerse myself in meaningful relationships again.

When I began replacing my apologies with gratitude, it was like I had opened an entirely new door to my future. There is so much beauty in the world, and we take advantage of it every day. Expressing gratitude for my friendships, my family and myself became something I would try to build on in the future, and attempt to gain more of as I grew older. The remnants of guilt and heaviness from my previous toxic experiences soon faded away and dissolved into my past.

I am still triggered by some things relating to those relationships today, but I no longer let them weight me down long term. I remember to thank my lucky stars for what I have in present time, and what those toxic relationships have provided me with since. Gratitude in place of apology has opened my eyes up to the little things, the little bits of beauty we forget to remember.

I am thankful for the light I have discovered outside of the toxic relationships I once had. There was a time when I thought I'd never see the beauty I have. Getting away from toxicity is difficult, but it is not impossible. Know that gratitude will always be waiting for you to embrace it, even when you think there is nothing to be thankful for. There will always be something to be grateful for, and unlike guilt, gratitude is never apologetic.

Cover Image Credit: Allef Vinicius

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Origin Of Life

A small theory for a very big thing.

One of the most controversial topics to ever face the humans on earth: The origin of life. There are so many different ideas and theories to support, however I’m going to discuss it purely based on scientific research.

It’s estimated that the Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago. This estimate comes from measuring the ages of the oldest rocks on Earth, along with the ages of moon rocks and meteorites, from a process called radioactive dating (which means the decay of radioactive isotopes is used to calculate the time of the rocks creation). I would go more into this process, however there’s a lot to discuss about the origin of life, and not rocks.

Imagine this: Earth as we know it now, except back then it’s literally a bunch of flaming rocks. There’s this ball of flaming rocks, and it’s constantly being hit with more, you guessed it, flaming rocks (can also be called meteors). Just a little fact, one of the meteors that hit “earth” hit it so well that the moon was created due to the amount of debri flying around in earth’s orbit. Another little fact, some of those meteors that were plummeting into earth actually contained H20 (water)! There’s now steam in the atmosphere and the temperature is cooling, resulting in an actual ground instead of hot lava. However, the ground doesn’t last long for there’s a lot, i repeat a lot of rain that occurs, therefore creating an ocean. However fear not, land does come back, and with that, we have an earth that is more familiar to us. But wait! Where’s the life? That’s where this origin of life theory i’m going to discuss comes in.

While it’s still not known for sure how life came to be, there is one theory that stands out. During the 1920s, Russian scientist Aleksandr Oparin and English scientist J. B. S. Haldane both (separately) proposed what's now called the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis: life on Earth could have arisen step-by-step from non-living matter through a process of “gradual chemical evolution.” Oparin and Haldane theorized that the early Earth had a reducing atmosphere, meaning an oxygen-poor atmosphere in which molecules are able and tend to donate electrons. Under these conditions, simple inorganic molecules (that traveled from a meteor) could have reacted (with energy from lightning or the sun) to form building blocks such as acids and nucleotides, which could have accumulated in the oceans, making a "primordial soup." The building blocks (monomers) could have combined in further reactions, forming larger, more complex molecules (polymers) like proteins and nucleic acids. The polymers then could have assembled into units or structures that were capable of sustaining and replicating themselves. Oparin thought these might have been “colonies” of proteins clustered together to carry out metabolism, while Haldane suggested that macromolecules became enclosed in membranes to make cell-like structures.

And there you have it, a origin of life theory. While there are many others to discuss, this one made sense to discuss just due to the fact that it kind of covers everything. Now with this gained knowledge, go forth and research more!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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I Refuse To Apologize For Putting My Mental Health Before My Education

It's OK to not be OK.

I’ve been in college for a long time now. By the time I receive my undergraduate degree I will be 24 going on 25. Some days I think about this and I feel defeated, like I’m far behind where I wanted to be in my life. Then I remember why I’m so far behind and I feel a little bit better about it.

I’ve struggled with various mental illnesses for a large portion of my life. Over the past 10 years at least. It’s been a daily struggle and somedays I can get out of bed and face the day and be perfectly fine, but there are days when I can’t function. AND THAT’S OKAY.

I used to beat myself up for missing a class or having to call into work because I just couldn’t do life that day. As I’ve gotten older I’ve let myself realize that you have to take care of yourself in whatever way works for you. If that means that you have to stay in bed for three days and sleep, then do that and when you feel more yourself face the world and get your life together.

Mental health days have proven to be so important to my life and successfully functioning as a part of society. Yes, maybe it’s taken me a bit longer to get through certain parts of my life, but I’ve moved at a pace that works for me and when I’m finally finished with this chapter of my life I’ll be able to say that I came out happy and healthy and functional.

College is hard. It’s hard for healthy people and it’s definitely hard for those who struggle with any sort of illness, mental or physical.

Over the past 10 years I have come to terms with what my illnesses mean. I can’t be like everyone else all the time and I can’t just pretend everything is fine. The more I tried to ignore my problems, the larger my problems became. In this case ignorance IS NOT bliss, it’s a death sentence.

Everyone in this world will struggle with something at some point in their life and if you’re anything like me you’ll put on a brave face and say that you’re fine…for a while. But there is no shame in not being okay. You can’t be okay all that time. To quote my favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy, “Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health; that’s crap!”

Take that day off. Stay in bed. Eat that junk food that you never let yourself have. Cry. Scream. Drive until you don’t remember why you weren’t okay in the first place. Do whatever it is you need to do to feel okay (within reason. Please don’t do anything unhealthy). Accept that it is okay not to be okay and show the world that, yeah maybe you’re a hot mess, but you’re handling it and you’ll come out better than ever because you took the time to sort out your crap and maintain your mental health instead of rushing through it to please society.

So maybe I’ll be in my 30’s before I finish school, but that’s okay because I’m healthy-ish, I’m happy-sorta, and I did what I needed to do to succeed in my own life and I refuse to apologize for that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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