I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions because I tend to set myself up for failure. I’ve skipped the whole notion for a number of years. I have, on a number of years, asked God for a word for my year.* That was more profitable. But I haven’t been consistent with that practice either. On December 30th, a FaceBook friend (that’s you, Karen S.) posted a suggestion of setting the goal to say thank you more often than saying sorry.
At first reading, those of us who are inclined to hold high regard for the willingness to apologize, might find this goal less than noble. But both the explanation given in Karen’s post, and the outcome for me as I’ve acted on that suggestion, have proven to be positive. The post in part says, “it’s not only shifted the way I think and feel about myself but also improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude instead of my negativity”.
I’m realizing that the words “I’m sorry” can become as rote as “how are you?”. Just a sloppy habit. Sometimes we say “I’m sorry” for something out of our control, e.g. being late due to traffic caused by an accident. It’s refreshing to say, “thank you for patiently waiting for me”. That acknowledges your friend’s positive attitude and lifts some of the frustration of being stuck in traffic!
Yesterday I had a dentist appointment to have a cavity filled. I have a smaller than average mouth. No broad smile for me! But I do have squinty eyes that let you know my heart is smiling broadly. Anyway, when the dentist and her assistant finished working in the confines of my mouth I said, “thanks for not complaining about the size of my mouth”. Normally I would have said, “sorry about my small mouth”! My thanks brought about some chuckles and an acknowledgment that it was a challenge to work on my molar, but she could see I was struggling also. The exchange felt positive!
Now, you may think I making a wisdom tooth out of a molar, (I know, you’re rolling your eyes). But think about the cumulative effect of saying a lot more specific thank you’s this year and fewer meaningless sorry’s. We’ll be forging a year of gratitude instead of fostering needless negativity.
By all means, we need to stay aware of any time we may offend and make amends (in part) with a sincere apology! Let’s just do away with needless groveling, shame and negativity; let’s become aware of how those around us give us a multitude of reasons to be thankful!
We can dole out the good feeling of a pat on the back and we’ll have a better attitude about common mishaps.
Wish I was the originator of the expression, “turn that frown upside down”. It would make a good, syrupy ending to this essay. Sorry for the corny tone of this essay. I mean, thanks for reading my thoughts, corny humor and all!