4 Reasons to Kick "Sorry Syndrome" to the Curb!

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

“Stop apologizing for being who you are and become the person you were meant to be."

-Rachel Hollis

Powerful, confident Wonder Women don't apologize for being imperfectly human, believing in their ideas or wanting to share them with others! They are open to new ways of thinking and don't water down their message to diffuse conflict or keep the peace.

They understand their worth AND apologize when they have done something wrong that deserves an apology. They also understand "I'm sorry..." is not an apology. Often, it is an empathic acknowledgment of someone else's discomfort, hurt feelings or unfortunate experience. Too much apologizing sends the message you don't feel confident in what you are about to say or that you have the right to say it" (Dr. Rachel Busman, Child Mind Institute).

Rachel Hollis, author of "Girl, Stop Apologizing" believes confident, successful women avoid apologies unless there's a good reason. They avoid "Sorry Syndrome", a pattern of over-apologizing for everything even when it is not their fault. "Sorry Syndrome" sabotages careers, personal power and relationships. True apologies imply you acknowledge your actions were wrong, are remorseful and will choose to act differently in the future.

Here are 4 reasons to avoid "Sorry Syndrome":

1. If you don't respect yourself, who will?

Apologizing or saying sorry right before you share a differing viewpoint or opinion waters down your message and implies you are not confident in yourself or the message you are trying to share.

2. Too much "I'm Sorry" can make you seem fake.

Like the "boy that cried Wolf" too many times, frequent apologies lose their value. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg apologized for remarks she made about President Donald Trump prior to his presidency, calling them ill-advised and agreeing to be more circumspect in the future. Her apology mattered because it was infrequent, admitted wrongdoing and involved a change in future behavior.

3. Your train departs at Scapegoat Station

Chronic apologizing makes it too easy for others to make you a scapegoat for their bad behavior. Why would they take responsibility for your their actions when you will do it for them? Soon, many people will expect you to take responsibility for everything, undermining you, your confidence and self-esteem.

4. Keeping Their Resiliency Muscle Weak

Each time you apologize for someone else's behavior, you are denying them the experience of taking responsibility, owning their mistakes and considering the perspective of another. We cannot learn to be resilient, overcome obstacles and grow as people if we never have to overcome anything.


Feelings are deeply personal and reflect are values, opinions and beliefs. We are in charge of our own feelings and get to decided how we feel about our experiences. No one else can control or take responsibility for our feelings. Logically, we understand this, though it can be more difficult to believe this in our hearts. Sometimes, we are looking for someone to blame, in order to avoid taking responsibility for our feelings.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy involves teaching clients skills of mindfulness, emotion regulation and conflict resolution focusing on maintaining relationships. Clients are asked to explore their beliefs about feelings and if they feel responsible for the feelings of others. Be honest... do you feel responsible if someone you care about is mad or upset with you? Does that really mean you have done something wrong or could it just be their own issue they need to deal with?

Consider this scenario... Your mother is sensitive about her cooking and looks for external validation. Your parents invite you over for dinner. While you thank her for cooking and offer to help with the dishes, you don't compliment the actual meal. She prefers to avoid conflict and her feelings are hurt because she did not receive a compliment. She chooses not to say anything. Her feelings fester and months later she blurts out she is hurt and offended you have not complimented her cooking. Clearly, her feelings are hurt. However, does that mean you have done anything wrong?

If you've enjoyed this blog post and need help with your relationships or setting boundaries, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or find us online at You can also contact Sara directly by calling 913-244-8786 or sending an email to

Till next time,

Sara Minges, M.S.

Sara is an Award Nominated Touring Poet, Speaker and Empowerment Life Coach for Women. She's been a featured blogger for Pathway to Hope, panelist and speaker for Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and the National Alliance for Mental Illness. She's the Founder of Wonder Woman Rising and a TV segment contributor for KC Live, Better Kansas City, 41 Action News and Fox 4.

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