“Oh my gosh, I’m so stupid!”
Self-deprecating statements like this can harm your self-worth and affirm negative beliefs that may have been planted earlier in life. It’s a worthwhile goal to begin a practice of using different words that are more self-loving.
The words we choose don’t just affect us; they affect the people we’re speaking to. Harsh statements such as the one above can have different effects. The other person may feel uncomfortable, or may want to rush in and reassure us. Either way, it creates uncomfortable tension in the conversation and in the relationship as a whole.
Another phrase that can have a troublesome impact on relationships is, “I’m sorry.” Ideally, when we make a mistake we recognize it right away, apologize and then move on.
The difficulty starts when you don’t consciously recognize you’ve made a mistake, or you recognize it but don’t feel willing to apologize. Either of those scenarios can damage relationships and create emotional turmoil that can lead to unhealthy body image and eating behaviors.
Another challenge is when we apologize for something that’s not our fault, such as the fact that else is experiencing a loss or struggle. Or we spend too much time apologizing or explaining something that really wasn’t a big deal to begin with. (For more insights on this topic you can read the article, Make Amends to Make Your Guilt Disappear.)
I experienced being on the other end of this, when someone was apologizing repeatedly for a simple mistake that was already dealt with. I’d been double-booked for a radio interview, but everything turned out perfectly because the other person was late anyway. But the host just couldn’t seem to move on. When I spoke up and let him know that he didn’t need to keep apologizing, he said he really appreciated it because he had no idea how it sounded to the other person when he was doing that.
I always encourage people to find a way to speak your truth to others in a kind way that feels honorable to you and aligned with your values.