Especially in the UK, we are so used to apologising for almost everything we do, in order to come across as considerate, humble, and not at all shameless. However, sometimes apologising does more damage than good. It makes us and others feel like we've done something wrong while that may or may not be the case. Often a simple 'thank you' will make others feel seen and appreciated for their actions, while we ourselves can feel gratitude and more self-worth.
There is plenty of research on gratitude, its effects on happiness and it's usefulness for countering depression. A simple google search will give you numerous articles about showing appreciation and returning kindness.
I like to incorporate gratitude into my workshops, on my end, thanking my students and colleagues, and also by encouraging participants to acknowledge their contribution. It forms part of effective communication and mindful positive interaction.
It can be difficult for some people to accept praise or kindness with a simple 'thank you' and not feel obliged to belittle achievement or make return gifts/statements of the same sentiment. Acts of kindness then lead to pressure, guilt, and shame, which is not what their initial intention was.
If you find yourself very quickly apologising for things, notice and stop for a moment to ask yourself: 'did I do anything wrong, or is someone else being kind?' If you can answer the first part of the question with 'no' and the second with 'yes' then say 'thank you' in stead of 'sorry', and see what happens next.
When practicing a foreign language, thank others for their patience rather than apologising for your minor mistakes. If you do say something rude, however, then apologising is the right thing to do ;-)
For improvisers, next time when you do a scene which doesn't go as well as you hoped, rather than apologising for your poor performance, thank your partners for keeping the scene going and/or being there with you.
Thank you for reading and to Yao Xiao for this lovely cartoon.