Sorry not sorry.
How often do you apologise for yourself? Think how many times you start an email with 'Sorry for the delayed response...'. Or when responding to a text a little late - '...sorry for responding so late.' Calling your mum back '...sorry it took me so long to call you back, Mum.'
Here's the thing - we all have a lot going on in our lives - your work colleagues, your friends and your mum included. They understand. And if they don't then that's going to take a whole other article to explain what that means. When we are in the habit of apologising for our existence - because that's in effect what we're doing - we're programming our minds to keep playing it small, to take up less space in this world.
You deserve the space you are taking up. So start owning it. You are important.
I want to offer you some alternative language to use when you feel like you haven't held up your end of the bargain (regardless of whether that's actually true in reality). It's just two words: thank you.
'Thank you for your patience in awaiting my response.'
'Thanks for waiting for me to get back to you!'
'Thanks for understanding my life is busy mum, it's nice to finally talk to you.'
See how that changes the energy of the conversation and prevents you from giving your power away during the first moment of your interaction? It also shows that you respect the time of the other person and appreciate that they have been understanding in waiting for you to get back to them. Gratitude is all the rage these days - get on board the gratitude train!
These two words are so powerful, I want to give you another way to use them...
Are you one of those people who finds it difficult to receive compliments? That's okay - a lot of us feel the same. If this is true for you, it may be a gentle indicator for you that you need to explore why your self-esteem isn't where it should be. We generally struggle to graciously receive compliments when the information we are hearing does not match our own beliefs about ourselves.
'You did an excellent job writing that article, Anne, it really connected with me...' said her cousin Jill. 'No, that article on saying thank you!? I was so rushed when I wrote that and half the time I wonder whether people think what I write is just self-justifying rubbish.'
'Cool shoes Rodney!' said Boris as he gestured towards Rod's boots. 'Ah, these are hand-me-downs from my brother Richard, they were too big for him.' responded Rod.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are you excellent at deflecting or deflating compliments? What about this one where you deny your contribution to a good outcome.
'Nice work on that report Eddie!' said his boss after they finished delivering the highlights during an important client meeting. 'Well I didn't have much to do with it, the team did all the hard work'. [Okay Eddie, no one likes the manager who takes all the credit... but this is too far mate.]
You can respond to any of these scenarios with a simple "thank you." And by doing so, you are also leaving a more positive impact on the compliment-giver. It feels pretty yuck when someone ignores your compliment or deflects it. I'm sure you can recall such an experience. You then force your compliment-giver to decide whether they want put in more effort to make sure you receive the acknowledgement or just give up because it's energy draining for them. At some point, the latter scenario will play out because this game wears thin after a while. Through this "training" of the people around you, you will eventually stop receiving any compliments and your beliefs will be realised. You'll be left thinking maybe you're not that good after all.
Your mind will ALWAYS seek to confirm its own beliefs. True or not. This is thanks to a fabulous (but primitive) structure in your brain called the reticular activating system. It's a protection mechanism. If someone is offering you a compliment, they most likely mean it. There are few people in this world who would actually waste their energy on giving throw-away compliments for the sake of it. So please, start letting them in.
You are as wonderful as people say you are. Probably more. You are as bright and shiny and special and stylish as they say. Probably more. So start letting it in. Just say 'thank you!' Allow the reassuring words of others to help give you the momentum you need to upgrade your own inner beliefs about yourself that you are great - just as you are.
You deserve the space you are taking up. Probably more.