Tag Archives: cognitive behavior therapy

All Apologies

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‘I’m sorry’ comes out my mouth way too much.   I’m not talking about sincere apologies.  I’m talking about saying I’m sorry when I didn’t do or say anything that I need to apologize for.

For example, I say sorry when someone bumps into me, or if I almost drop something.   I even say sorry to furniture when I bump into it.

I also apologize when I think someone is going to be angry, before I’m even sure what I’m apologizing for.  It’s a sort of reflex for me, like how you put your hands in front of you when you trip.  It’s a safety net.  People get less angry if you seem like you feel bad.

The odd thing is, when I actually need to apologize for something I did, I have the hardest time.

There is something wrong with this.

Why do I feel like this need to apologize constantly? 

Maybe it’s because I bully myself.  I tell myself I’m stupid, or not good enough.  I tell myself that people are angry at me.  But, this is all my own perception.  This isn’t a definite truth.

Or maybe it’s because others often tell me I’m wrong.  I’m not a confident person, and for some reason, confident people prey on people like me.  They ‘advise’ me and tell me all the ways I’m wrong, all in my best interest, of course.  So I guess I’m used to feeling like I’m wrong.

But, I think it also comes from a desire to please. I don’t want anyone to be angry at me.  There are many angry people in the world, but taking on the blame for all their feelings is both arrogant and dysfunctional.   By saying I’m sorry, I make myself responsible, whether I am or not.  Why would I add this unnecessary burden on myself?

I don’t want to live that way.   I don’t want to be constantly apologizing for things that don’t deserve an apology.  Don’t get me wrong.  Apologizing is great, but only if you actually did something wrong.   But, you don’t need to take blame for things that aren’t your fault.

To combat this, I try to practice mindfulness, a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.   From here, I can see what is clearly mine to deal with and what is not.   Gradually, I notice these meaningless and disordered apologies leave my vocabulary.   And when I realize that I have done something wrong,  I try to say I’m sorry and mean it.

 

 

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Feelings Lie. Don’t follow them.

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Emotions are a part of every day.  Many different feelings can go through one’s mind: happiness, anger, fear, worry, angst, disgust, sadness, etc.  They can feel overpowering. They can cause restlessness. You may feel such worry about making a decision that you can’t even eat. Or, it takes so much energy to go through your daily tasks because of the thick sadness that you feel.  It’s easy to lose perspective.  It seems as if you always have, and always will feel the way you do at that moment. But this is not accurate, because, in reality, everything we feel is temporary, whether it’s good or bad.

 

You can’t control your feelings, but you can control your reaction to them.

 

My brain only has so much space and energy, so I have to decide which emotions deserve my attention and which ones don’t.  I’m not saying this is easy.  I’m hypersensitive and I feel everything very strongly, so this doesn’t come naturally to me at all.

Sometimes, I have these mysterious bouts where I struggle to do anything that I wish to do.  I aggravate myself.  I’ll pick up my hobbies and they make me angry instead of relaxed.  Or I’ll try to read a book and it makes no sense. I don’t know why this happens, but it does. When I feel like this, I try to take my focus away from myself, and look at others and do something kind. It restores some of my self-esteem and helps someone I care about.  It’s a win-win.

I can make choices that will affect how I feel.

When I’m feeling sad, I can choose to aggravate it by listening to depressive music or I can choose to help my little sister with something.

Now, I’m not suggesting shoving your feelings down and never dealing with them.  That is unhealthy in it’s own way.  What I’m saying is that you should be the one in control of your feelings, not the other way around.

Regulating your emotions is a life-skill.  It’s a struggle and a process that is built slowly from experience.  It takes practice to learn how to manage what you’re feeling.   Some days I struggle and can’t get my emotions under control.  Other days are dark and long.  Some days, it’s easier.  It’s all part of the process. This is life for me.  I have to roll with this without becoming angry, anxious or despairing.

 

I can choose to let the flames die…or to feed them.

The choice really is mine.

And it’s your choice too.