Politeness is ingrained in all of us - more so in some cultures than in others, but it’s used to express that we mean no harm, are thoughtful to other people’s needs and express empathy for those around us. Most people say ‘sorry’ or ‘I’m sorry’ far too often. I know I’m one of those people who use it so much that it almost becomes automatic. You’re probably aware of whether this is an issue for you. Yes, sometimes an apology is necessary, but not all situations call for your apology!

Is this a huge problem just for submissives? Gosh, no, but I think that since we endeavor to please our Dominants as best we can, that we can find ourselves feeling the need to apologize more often than we should. In most of these cases, as you’ll read below, you may not need an apology to convey your feelings. I know I’ve been using these tactics a lot recently and have not only found my mood to be more positive but that I’m more confident in my abilities and realize I’m not such a disappointment after all.

If you struggle with frequent apologizing, you may need to take a different approach to find ways to express what you really mean.

1. Find A Way To Say 'Thank You' Instead

While saying ‘I’m sorry’ is in the same politeness category as ‘Thank you’, by saying ‘sorry’ you are ultimately lowering your self-worth and self-confidence by apologizing for circumstances and situations. Since it can be overused so much, saying ‘I’m Sorry’ can actually become an empty automatic response with no real meaning.

I know in my personal experience, I used saying ‘I’m sorry’ for every little situation where I felt I was inconveniencing KnyghtMare, or that I felt I might be disappointing him. First, that was assuming I knew what my actions or lack of actions made him feel which in some situations was bottom-topping. Secondly, I began using ‘I’m sorry’ as an excuse. These things were not healthy for my submission or our relationship.

By showing gratitude and appreciation instead, I was able to shift my position to one of positive reinforcement and created far less anguish between us. Expressing thanks instead of an apology cultivates a sense of positivity between you and your Dominant because you are appreciating what they’ve done for you instead of apologizing for your faults.

Examples:

“Thank you for your patience” instead of “I’m so sorry, I’m always late.”“Thank you for listening” is much better than “Sorry for going on and on.”“Thank you for listening” is much better than “Sorry for going on and on.”“Thank you for spending time with me” rather than “Sorry for taking up all your time.”“Thank you for spending time with me” rather than “Sorry for taking up all your time.”

2. Apologize Without Using The Word 'Sorry'

An apology is about taking responsibility for your actions and making a commitment to do differently next time. The next time you feel pulled to apologize try to do it without saying ‘sorry’. It will make you be more clear about your ownership of the events and what you plan to do to correct it in the future.

Try one of these next time:

      It’s unfortunate that…

      How sad for you that (this) happened…

      I sympathize with your situation/disappointment/frustration…

      What a shame that…

      Will you please forgive my insensitivity/error/indiscretion…

      I am completely at fault here, and I apologize…

      I am unhappy about (or I regret) the pain/inconvenience you’ve been caused

      This situation has filled me with regret…

3. Don't Apologize For 'Bothering' People

You know you do it, I do it, we all do it. We want to get someone’s attention, or have a question to ask and the first words we utter are, “sorry to bother you….” When you approach someone who may be talking, just politely wait to be acknowledged and say something like, “is this the right time to ask for your assistance,” or “can I borrow you for a moment?”

You don’t need to apologize for having an opinion or a question that you’d like answered as long as you wait to be acknowledged, or there is a pause in the conversation that you can safely interject.

4. Practice Empathy Instead Of Giving A Sympathy 'Sorry'

Some of us use ‘I’m sorry’ to express sympathy. Instead, try expressing empathy by reflecting on what the other person is going through and might be feeling. For example, if someone shares a difficult situation or story, try saying, “That sounds like it was really hard for you.” Sorry expresses sympathy which rarely makes the person feel heard, valued or better.

What can make someone feel heard and important is not only getting in touch with what they are feeling but offering your own support. Don’t just say, ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ but actually offer to pick up some coffee or bring some dinner by their place, or simply ask them if they’d like someone to talk to. Often, just having someone bend an ear or offer a shoulder is more valuable than ‘I’m sorry.’

5. Ask For Constructive Feedback

I know I’ve been caught too many times doing something wrong or failing to complete a task that my Dominant has asked of me. Apologizing too much can be a sign of low self-esteem and feeling anxious. Instead of saying at an empty, ‘I’m sorry’, ask for some constructive feedback so that you can learn to improve. Ask, “Can you give me feedback on how I can do this differently?”

Sometimes an apology is necessary, Submissive Guide can help you with that too.

The Art of Apology Series