Breaking Up with I'm Sorry

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Rachel E.H. Photography

Have you ever met someone who apologizes for everything?

You hear these lines from them on the regular…

“I’m so sorry I’m late.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t gotten the chance to get back to you sooner.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t have time to make us dinner.”

“I’m so sorry I haven’t responded to your email sooner.”

Sound familiar? If you’re reading MY blog and have been here for a while, you’re likely one of these people or at least used to be because—surprise surprise—I used to be too (and STILL have to remind myself to practice at it).

I was on a call with a client earlier this week who had cancelled our coaching session the week before because (of course) someone needed something from her, and she’s much more practiced in saying “no” to herself than saying “no” to others.

Pretty ironic, right? She hired me to help her break up that story, the story that had her constantly serving and saying yes to everyone else in order to validate that she was good enough because she didn’t believe she was on her own.

And of course, that is THE thing that is going to continue getting in her way with coaching too, since that is where her breakthrough lies. In knowing that she’s enough for who she is, as she is, and how she shows up. In stopping the pattern of having to get everything right all the time, yessing everyone to death, and allowing everyone to “need her.” In getting in touch with her OWN needs and then putting them and herself first.

Is this sounding familiar to you yet?

Because it was sounding like déjà vu to me while I was on the phone with my client that morning…

  • Remembering all the times I would do whatever my ex-boyfriend wanted to do in order to make him happy, thus making me happy because he was (or so I thought that’s how it worked)
  • Being THE person that everyone came to for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or a safe place to vent
  • Going with the flow and doing whatever the group wanted rather than expressing my opinion or owning that I even had an opinion

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to help people. Helping my clients be empowered, knowing my friend is confident in the decision she’s going to make or the relationship she is or isn’t going to stay in, that brings me a lot of joy….

But not at the expense of me or you, having needs, getting them met, and putting myself or yourself second; not one single time more.

Stop that. Stop it right now.

When you notice yourself still unpracticed in saying “no” to others,

always wanting to help others or feeling selfish when you don’t,

saying sorry one too many times,

it’s likely more about you than you think.

You might feel resentful for how little time you have for yourself or question why your friends and family don’t want to hear more about you and only talk about themselves with you….

But here’s the catch: you set up your relationships, your time, and your schedule to go this way. You are the one who keeps saying “yes” to new projects, the next promotion, the next staff member to manage or project to oversee.

You are still getting your needs met (just not the ones you think you want met).

The needs that you are getting met are the ones that make you feel like you’re good enough—and specifically good enough for what you do and what you’ve accomplished—the needs that make you feel worthy enough of others’ love, attention and time.

Because deep down a part of you only loves you when you’re accomplishing, producing, excelling, and finding evidence to fill that not-good-enough hole.

The irony is you are playing an unwinnable game, my friend.

Take my client for example. She is an incredible human being, an expert in her field, highly sought out worldwide for her area of expertise, supervisor at least indirectly to hundreds of employees, literally a senior manager of a renowned Fortune 500 company.

Do you know what she told me on our coaching call?

She said, “Cat, I feel like I’m trying to get into the member’s club and continue needing to work to maintain my status.”

If you’re still reading this blog, here’s what I have for you:

No one can give or take away your status but you.

No one can make you worthy or unworthy but yourself.

No one can make you good enough other than you.

And no one can love you more than you love yourself.

So how about simply starting to love yourself now?

Because it’s your right, because it’s your choice and because it will set you free.

So, this week when others start making demands of your time, how will you respond?

How about saying no to others as an expression of self-love for yourself?

How about using the word “no” as a complete sentence?

How about offering support within a boundary that you set because you love yourself that much (like for example, “Sure, I’d love to support you and I have 10 minutes.”)

How about not being willing to sacrifice your morning self-care rituals anymore simply because you are worthy of that much exquisite self-care?

How about scheduling in time for yourself and honoring it as you would time with a client because you are just that important?

And how about every time you say no to others, you say it with love rather than resentment, and remind yourself that you are lovingly responsible for having set up the relationship to go that way, and you are lovingly responsible for changing it?

If this blog resonates with you, hit reply and let me know what your greatest takeaway is. I respond individually to each response with love!

Lovingly “sorry I’m not sorry” yours,