I’m not sure at what point my bad life experiences turned into trauma-inducing nightmares, but what I’ve learnt recently is that I apologise for everything.
If you’ve ever been asked to do something that wasn’t possible for you, then apologised for it, you probably got told off for saying No as a child.
This, of course, is just my opinion and is entirely based on my life experience. But as someone who wasn’t allowed to say No as a child, someone who was told I was talking back or being disrespectful for simply admitting my discomfort, I now apologise for everything.
Someone could comment about how poor the weather is, and I’d apologise. Instinctively, I’m conditioned to apologise for everything because otherwise, I fear being shouted at or hurt.It’s as if I sense someone’s upset, disapproval, or anger and feel the need to protect myself.Like when a child thinks they’ve done something wrong and beg for forgiveness when, in reality, they’ve probably done nothing wrong; they’ve just made a mistake.
We don’t have to apologise for everything.If someone’s sad about something unrelated to you, change your “I’m sorry” to “Sorry to hear that” – this shows you care but don’t try to take accountability for something you literally can’t change.
We need to change this for ourselves and for future generations.
Children shouldn’t have to be afraid to tell someone No. In the same way that we shouldn’t have to explain why we don’t want to do something, we shouldn’t expect children to explain to us why they feel uncomfortable giving hugs or taking their shoes off in the house.
If a child says “No” to doing a task or giving affection, ask them if they’re okay rather than just “why?” – they might not be able to articulate it yet.
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