Unclutter Your Life

How Often Do You Say “I’m Sorry”?

16142225_10158214267640220_190293698090786954_nI have to be honest, I never really thought about how often I say this word, until someone flat out asked me “What are you sorry for?”  The truth was, I didn’t know why.  It had become a habit over the years as I dealt with my Adjustment Disorder and became a “people pleaser“.  I’m not talking about when you are truly sorry for something YOU did;  I’m talking about when we apologize for things we had no control over.  Be honest, I am not alone, right?

I started observing people around me and I noticed the word “sorry” is thrown around like wildfire, for the littlest things. But why do we do it?

As you can guess, women are more prone to over-apologizing than men. There are actually some valid reasons according to researchers.  The main reason is women are more attuned to other people’s feelings which leads us to apologize for circumstances out of our control.

If you feel like you are saying sorry too much and don’t know why, here are some tips I am using to help me stop!

#1 – Are you avoiding conflict?

Do you find yourself apologizing for not liking someone else’s point of view?  Are you worried the other person may be upset by your point of view so you instantly apologize?  Everyone is absolutely entitled to their own opinion and there is NO need to apologize.   

The proverbial people pleaser in me wants everyone to be happy.  Is it going to happen? NO!!! I have been practicing embracing my point of view and attempting to have an invigorating discussion. Since dealing with the memory issues of MS, these kinds of discussions are a struggle but debating on topics which interest me seem to stir the cobwebs which is a good thing.

I am big on writing, as if you couldn’t tell, so I have started writing down the answers to these three questions about saying sorry so much: #1 What is making me say sorry?; #2 – Why?; and #3 – Where does it keep happening?. Then I can figure out how to fix it?  This gives us a pattern so we can change our actions.

#2 Do you have self-image issues?

When I share my past and how I have struggled with a poor self-image for years people are shocked.  Despite years of counseling and life changes, those inner gremlins hide for awhile but they are never really gone forever.  Believe it or not, sometimes when we say sorry, it is a reflection on how we view ourself. OUCH!!

The more confidence we have in ourself, the more confidence we have in what comes out of our mouth.  When I am feeling confident, sorry is seldom a word I say EXCEPT when it is actually something I did and need to apologize for.  I have not found a magic wand to wave for instant confidence or believe me, I would be sharing it with everyone.   Working on your confidence and self-image will naturally stop you from apologizing for everything.  Take it from one who knows.

#3 Do words fly out faster than you think?

If you find yourself over-apologizing, try to figure out whether you actually did something (or said something) wrong.  If you are like me, words fly out of your mouth faster than you think.  The old saying “open mouth, insert foot” was written for me.  I am trying to step back,  slow down my thoughts and think before I say something.  I know, it is easier said than done sometimes.  What often happens is the way I express the thoughts instead of the actual words.  Something I meant as a joke, others take seriously.  Something I say seriously, others laugh out.  You get the picture, right?

If saying sorry has become second nature and is easily said – STOP yourself before the word comes out of your mouth.  Consider if what you are saying sorry for is actually something you need to say at all.  I admit, it will be difficult in the beginning, but it will come with time.

Remember, you are not alone, LOADS of people are like you. Myself included. The main thing is you deserve better, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it either.  We usually feel worse after, right?  I have been told for years I am my own worse enemy so it is time for us to join together to combat the need to say sorry?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

MS will Not Define Me

MS Will Not Define Me!

 

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Yes, I have been diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis).  This is not about having a “pity” party or being Negative Nellie.  This is about squashing those inner gremlins that want to let this life challenge defeat me.   Here is the medical definition:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

Okay, let me back up just a little bit.  For years, I have been complaining about not being able to remember things.  As a recovering addict of 25+ years, I always said “the drugs killed my brain cells” and life went on.

Fast forward to about 3 years ago, hubby was admitted to CCU with congestive heart failure.  When he comes home, he says ” you are different”.  This statement haunted our relationship for years.  We had our ups and downs.  I talked about “not remembering things” to the doctor.  Other health issues arose: IBS, glaucoma, chest wall syndrome (yes, that is real), unexplained weight gain, loss of sex drive (yes, I am telling all), adjustment disorder with depression and periodontal disease. Believe it or not, I could handle it ALL.  The thing that caused me to break was the night hubby thought I wanted a divorce – the memory issues had gotten that bad.  I was devastated.  We spent the whole night talking while I cried trying to explain how bad the memory issue had become.  I can truly understand the frustration of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Thankfully, we had an appointment with the primary in just a few days.  Between hubby and I, we got him to listen to how bad things had really gotten.

On to the Neurologist.  First, I found out that I couldn’t walk a straight line even without my favorite glass of wine.  Then came the MRIs, the spinal tap, the blood tests, the EEG and the trip to Robert Wood Johnson – MS Center.  No treatment options YET!  It seems that I need to have more MRIs in 6 months to see how things progress.

Hubby has spent endless nights doing research.  I have connected with some amazing people locally who also are fighting this disease.  Looking for alternative ways to stay healthy  – trying the sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.  This is a struggle but it is about baby steps – I am at least cutting back.

I have a new WHY – to not let this thing called MS take over my life.  To use my business and my blog to encourage others who are struggling with this disease.  To bring a smile to the face of those who are struggling on the inside but on the outside look “normal”.

So what does it mean for me, my friends and my family.  They are learning to be more patient, not only with me but with each other.  We are learning that just because “I can’t remember”, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care.  We are learning to embrace each moment – pictures become more important than ever.  I am learning that “my planner” is the key to keeping my life in order.  I am learning that I can still have a successful business despite the memory issues – lots of notes, systems and a sense of humor.

Not to worry, I will not be filling my blog with “my life with MS” posts.  I will continue to share my strengths, hopes and experiences so that I might encourage others.

Thank you for taking the time to read today’s blog which is definitely more personal than I have written in a long time.  All I ask is that you keep me (and my family) in prayer, and be understanding when I give you that blank look that says “I should know you but I don’t”.

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!