Those have so frequently become the first words out of my mouth.
Someone else bumps into me? I’m sorry.
A migraine presents itself and I cancel plans? I’m sorry.
I make a mistake at work and someone brings it up? I’m sorry.
These two little words have been making me feel small my whole life. They put me into a tiny little package where I could feel safe and I stayed there. Sorry for my existence and my presence. Those words along with my illnesses have had a huge effect on my mental health over the years.
About a year ago I started replacing every possible “I’m sorry” with “Thank You” and I found that it not only improved my attitude in conversations but the other person’s as well.
They have been less defensive and much more willing to work with me when things get dicey. I deal with property managers for a living and this little trick makes my life so much easier. When a cleaner or painter makes a mistake, “thank you for your communication, it really makes a difference”. Their whole body changes and they instantly know their importance again.
When I need to cancel plans because I’m in pain I say, “Thank you for your understanding.” Pain still drives people away faster than making mistakes. And there will always be people who think you should apologize.
But my pain will never go away. My journey to finding answers to lessen my pain will never go away, and I will always have side effects.