Are You Sorry For Being Yourself?

Jim:    Ah, you’re right on time.  As usual.  As it is always right now.  Welcome to our adventure.  Welcome to Fishing Without Bait and full-impact mindfulness.  There are no entrance exams or letters of reference.  There are no tests.  No comparisons with others.  And, the only homework is to challenge yourself.  If you’re finding life particularly heavy going, feeling loaded down, and if you’re restless, irritable and discontent, perhaps you have the lenses in your glasses reversed and can only see negativity.  Or perhaps you’re living your life on wishes and hopes.  You found a place where synergy and synchronicity are combined.  And, where we actually show you how to make magic.  Abracadabra.  Creating what you speak.  Not necessarily material things.  However, intangibles no currency can purchase.  Let us help you to help yourself fully participate in your life.  Let’s use the power of your mind and its energy to learn not to think from our thoughts but rather at them, and become a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis.  Think back to Dorothy when she landed in Oz and opened the door to a world of color.  Come with us.  Detach and untangle.  Identify and describe, and live a life without definitive expectations.  Explode into our world of full-impact mindfulness.  Open the door to your authentic self and let the adventure begin.  Oh, Mike, I’m sorry I took so long today.  And, I’m really sorry that I held you up.

Mike:    Not a problem.

Jim:    Mike, I’m so sorry I’m asking you all these questions.

Mike:    Why are we apologizing?

Jim:    Well, Mike, have you ever met anybody who apologizes all the time?  Or, are you that person?  

Mike:    I think I did used to be that person.  

Jim:    You used to be that person?  Say a little more about that.

Mike:    I always felt that I wasn’t good enough to be in the presence of whoever I was around.  

Jim:    Indeed.  Indeed.  And, we’re going to discuss that today.  So, we often talk about finding one’s identity on this program, do we not?  Finding your authentic self.  And, actually what that’s called I symbolic interaction.  And, what it involves is choosing – perhaps unconsciously, subconsciously, to perform one’s identity.  Gender and language expert, Jennifer Coates, who is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Roehampton says that men view apologizing as an admission of weakness and they are more alert to those types of words.  Women are also more prone to apologize frequently – even when there’s no need to do so, as they see apologies as tokens of consideration.  How do you view that, Mike?

Mike:    I think there’s definitely a different perception by each side – definitely strength for the men.  

Jim:    Sure.  And, unfortunately, people who I would term as serial apologizers often have been victims of abuse, and unfortunately this is particularly women – who apologize perhaps inappropriately.  And, remember, women have been internally hardwired to focus on family and cooperation rather than the maleness of wanting to win and confrontation.  So, what’s an apology?  Apologies are something that we do when we’ve legitimately done something wrong.  And, real apologies mean that you aren’t going to do that again.  Have you ever met somebody who lives their life on I’m sorries and promises that they won’t do that again?  So, after a while, do you believe them?

Mike:    No.  Because it just seems like a blanket apology.

Jim:    Sure.  Real apologies are acts of being honest – telling the truth, lowering your ego, taking responsibility for your actions and showing kindness, consideration and respect for other people.  Does this sound like something that our previous podcasts have dwelled on?

Mike:    Absolutely.

Jim:    Being honest, ego deflation, taking responsibility for your actions, compassion, kindness, consideration, and respect to others.  On the other hand, Mike, compulsive – or what I call serial apologizers die deaths from a thousand cuts.  When you say you’re sorry a thousand times a day, what does that tell you about yourself, Mike?

Mike:    Each time you do it it cuts down your confidence just slightly.

Jim:    So, Mike – remember, and we’ve often discussed this on our podcasts, there’s two types of guilt.  Inappropriate, unhealthy guilt where we attempt to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others or of ourselves.  And, this is where we address the inner critic.  And, for those who are listening – you may want to refer back to our previous podcasts on dealing with the inner critic, where we identify the weapons that they use – the words, the feelings that they invoke on us.  When what persons, places, things or situations where that inner critic appears the most, and often giving that inner critic a name so we can address it appropriately.  And, then there’s healthy guilt where we’ve actually done something wrong and making amends is justified.  And, Mike, we’ve often discussed the compulsive – or what I call serial apologizers, show symptoms of low self-esteem.  Mike, we’ve discussed self-concept and self-esteem in the past.  For a real refresher you could refer back to our previous podcasts.  Self-concept is facts and information.  Undisputable truths that you know about yourself.  And, unfortunately some of those truths have been massaged and manipulated by either inner critics or people who we look up to.  And, self-esteem is how we interpret those facts about ourselves.  We also talk about patterns of behavior, have we not, Mike?  And, we talk about repeated patterns of behavior that become hard-wired into our head.  And, we’re talking about full-impact mindfulness.  We’re talking about stepping back and becoming the observer behind that thinker so we can hardwire our operating system.  We don’t want to delete it.  We just want to tinker with the software.  And also, Mike, have you ever been around people where you literally walk on eggshells or tiptoe through situations in life?

Mike:    Yeah.  Certain people you just don’t know what their triggers are going to be.

Jim:    Right.  And, also there’s people who intimidate us.  Mike, what are we living in?  That thing we talk about most frequently on this program.

Mike:    In fear.

Jim:    Absolutely.  So, when we talk about fear.  And, we speak about that frequently on our podcast.  We talk about addressing that fear.  Remember, in full-impact mindfulness – in Fishing Without Bait we don’t recommend thought suppression or though blocking.  We talk about learning how to label and describe those thoughts and feelings so we have some type of control over them.  And, for those who perhaps aren’t familiar with that we refer back to the podcast where we address the reason people name pets and animals.  There’s a wonderful website out there, Mike.  And, I’m going to ask you to reference this at the end of the podcast.  In this particular article recommends avoiding apologizing or being sorry for your feelings.  Should you really be sorry for your feelings?  Do you have to apologize for how you feel, Mike?

Mike:    No.  Because, they’re kind of the natural thing that happens inside you.

Jim:    Of course.  Our feelings and our emotions are ours, and they’re special and unique.  Or, being sorry for your appearance.  Gee, I’m sorry I’m so sloppy.  Gee, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten my hair done.  How often do you meet somebody like that?

Mike:    Yeah.  Pretty often.  They’re definitely thinking that that appearance is 1) well, they’re worried about first impressions.

Jim:    Or taking time for themselves.

Mike:    Absolutely.

Jim:    Taking time for themselves.  How many people have you met that have prefaced asking you a question with I’m sorry I’m asking you this question, or I don’t mean to disturb you, or I don’t mean to upset you.  I’m sorry that I’m interrupting your day.

Mike:    Absolutely.  They’re worried their question isn’t good enough.

Jim:    Or not responding immediately.  Have you ever met someone where you’re legitimately busy.  You’re legitimately involved in some other type of project or concern and you haven’t responded back to somebody within what you consider to be an appropriate amount of time, and you start that – you preface that with gee, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you.  

Mike:    Which is always interesting, because maybe the other person doesn’t think that it was all that long.

Jim:    And, once again, if we refer back to some of our previous podcasts where we’ve suggested that most conflicts, most misunderstandings occur because we assume that other people know what our wants, our needs, and our feelings are.  And, when we’re accurately able to label and describe, communicate, and – I believe that once we did a podcast on active listening also, did we not?  

Mike:    Absolutely. 

Jim:    And, one of the things that people say that I’m sorry for or apologize the most for are circumstances that they can’t control.  Gee, Mike, I’m sorry.  I’m really sorry I couldn’t come here.  My tire was flat.  Or, gee, I’m really sorry I couldn’t come, Mike.  My car wouldn’t start.  Things like that.  Should you be sorry for things that you can’t control?  Did you have any control over them?  Did you make that tire flat, Mike?

Mike:    No.  Absolutely not.  

Jim:    Did you not make the car start?

Mike:    Nope.

Jim:    So, thinking back again to one of the previous podcasts where we talk about the Serenity Prayer.  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  And, when we talk about wisdom we talk about being the observer behind that thinker.  And, what all of these podcasts, Mike – point to the realization of our authentic self.  And, when we find our true authentic self, that isn’t hidden behind the façade of low self-esteem, self-concept, identity formation – taking our inner value from the perception of others.  And, when we find that true authentic self we’ll be able to make conscious choices.  We’ll be able to be willing to make conscious choices and willing to accept consequences.  And, in that vein, we’re going to ask people to Fish Without Bait – to go through life expecting the unexpected.  Not to wander aimlessly through life, but to impact their life fully.  To participate in every moment. And, as we’ve often discussed, paying attention on purpose.  Open up your world.  Become that butterfly.  Emerge from that chrysalis.  And, that’s my challenge for everyone out there today.  Fish Without Bait.  Live a life of full-impact mindfulness.  And, if you have any comments, criticisms or questions regarding this program, please contact us. And, Mr. Mike, I’m sure that you’ll let them know at the end of this program.  And, as always, do a kindness for yourself.  Do a kindness for another.  And, our free prescription: fruits, nuts, and vegetables.  Unplug your television.  And, for a truly mindful experience we always Fish Without Bait.  Namaste.