An interesting thought has made its way into the depths of my brain lately: perhaps we as a species apologize too much. Or maybe, I apologize too much.
From the beginning of time, I have been a people pleaser. My disposition was one of upmost goody-two-shoes; always showing my manners at friends' houses, never interrupting or causing trouble at school, and endlessly apologizing for even the slightest of mishaps, even if it wasn't my fault. The whole notion of respecting those around me is something that I still take immense pride in, but the giving of unwarranted apologies is a habit that I am trying hard to break.
I remember a specific instance in elementary school where I backed into a chair. Immediately, a quick "Sorry!" escaped my mouth, only for me to realize that the object to which I was apologizing was inanimate. Also, I find it hilarious that the recently coined #sorrynotsorry hashtag has taken over social media. What the heck?!? Now, we are even apologizing for not apologizing!! Oh the madness!
Recently, I have begun to reform my people pleasing mindset after my (now former *insert crying face emoji*) manager at work instilled upon me a very important lesson: Sundays at the coffee shop are always swamped with a line that sometimes branches out the door. I am constantly rushing around on my shift, going from toasting a piece of bread, to steaming a cup of milk, to washing a quick batch of dishes. There are times when I don't get that latté out as fast as I would like, and the customer is waiting for quite some time in relative coffee shop terms. This brings me immediate guilt. My instinct is to apologize for the wait. I am SO sorry about your wait I used to say, feeling like my stomach was full of rocks. But my manger advised me to avoid this response. Instead, he suggested that I hand out the latté with a kind and courteous, thank you for your patience, acknowledging the customer, but not apologizing, for it is not our fault that we have a line out the door and a stack full of order tickets yet to be completed.
This little piece of advice transcended way past coffee for me and into the rest of my life. Because as much as we'd like to think otherwise, it's not always our fault. Like the coffee shop, sometimes the odds are just not stacked in our favor; we've just got to do the best with what we've got. It may take longer to reach the finish line and others may be annoyed about the wait, but in the end the take-home point is that we utilized our skills and our motivation to bring about success, even if others don't view it that same way. As I am coming to internalize, everything is about perspective. So I'm choosing to view the world in a non-apologetic light...at least some of the time.