No, this is not a lecture on the virtues of apologizing, though we hear that all the time. This is more in line with my post of last night about learning not to beat yourself up for something that isn’t your fault.
I’ve been posting several book manuscripts to Amazon in the last week or two—okay, not that many, but it seems like several to me. This is new territory for me, but since I’m now an indie publisher—Alter Ego Publishing—it’s important that I learn how to do this the right way. As a consequence, I’ve had lots of correspondence with the lovely young (I assume she’s young because she’s so technically smart) woman who formats manuscripts for me. I on the other hand am in my late seventies and a newcomer to all this web stuff.
I clearly remember writing Sunday and saying, “Sorry for the Sunday bother.” Today, I found I’d apparently sent her the wrong file, and we may have to start all over again on one book. I apologized. And then it dawned on me, she might well be tired of hearing me say I’m sorry. She’s always gracious about it and applauds my small victories, but even I think you can overdo apologies.
With me, I think it’s a need to have people like me, to not seem a bother. I know I am a nurturer by nature, but is that driven by a deeper need for approval, even affection? I’m not sure. I just know it’s been part of my nature for years. I apologize when I don’t have to, I accept blame for things that aren’t my fault. All in an effort to be pleasant.
I am learning to stand up for my opinions, even my politics, in discussions. I have a friend who never contradicts or crosses her husband, and I want to shout at her, “Stand up for yourself.” But the kind of apology I’m talking about is different. I’m not a milquetoast, and often I defer to others because the argument is not worth the effort. I can tell when someone is talking from a determined one-sided point of view and not willing to listen. That’s not it.
I’m talking more tonight about always apologizing, even if you’re not wrong. My new resolve is to simply say, “I made a mistake” and move on from there. It’s all a part of self-esteem. Why did I have to get so old to learn these lessons?