Every day, we are faced with a lot of negativity and things that can pull at our self-esteem. When we make a mistake, there are those ready to point it out and ridicule our flaws and make us feel worse about ourselves.
But in some cases, you may also be your worst enemy and the one pushing yourself down. When you make a small mistake, you’re easy to beat yourself up over it and think that it is that one mistake that defines you. Or, when you make a mistake and your friend says it was no harm on their part, you think that everyone close to you talks about you behind your back, talking about all the similar mistakes you’ve made in the past.
This is rarely the case. However, if you feel down, it’s probably because you feel like you’ve committed one too many mistakes. One reason this might be getting to you is because you always find yourself constantly apologizing for the things you did wrong.
The best way to end this feeling? Stop saying sorry, and start saying “thank you for your patience.”
Thank You for Your Patience
Thank you for your patience, thank you for being patient, or any other similar way of speaking it. Saying this is to acknowledge that that person has been waiting for you to keep up or reach them. Ideally, no one should have to wait for you, but they did. However, they tolerated or were inconvenienced by your actions, but they chose to stick it out for you.
Being patient means having the ability to tolerate delays or accept that some people are not as fast as you are. They know how to cope without getting upset. It’s a trait that you don’t see in a lot of people these days. So, instead of apologizing to bring yourself down, why not apologize to highlight the good qualities of the person you’ve wronged?
Say Thank You, Not Sorry
What’s great about saying this is that you take the focus away from your fault, but instead highlight the good qualities of that person. When you’re meeting with a co-worker but you’re running late, when you get to them, you may be tempted to say “sorry I’m late.” You could say that, but if you hear yourself acknowledging your flaw, even if the fault was unavoidable, you’re slowly disheartened by your inability to make it on time. However, if you thank your friend for waiting, it is the same as apologizing, but you instead focus on the good traits of your friend.
In another scenario, imagine a co-worker is teaching you something necessary for work. They aren’t getting paid to do it, you need to learn how to do it to perform your tasks at work, but you’re not learning as fast as either of you would like. Yet, you’ve seen your co-worker continuing to patiently train you, even if it means taking time out of their own tasks to manage you. Instead of apologizing and pointing out your slowness to learn, apologize and thank them for their patience and time.
When you take a call and are left for hold for a few minutes, you’ve never heard a customer service representative apologize for the wait. Instead, you might often hear them say something along the lines of “thank you for your patience” or “thank you for waiting.”
Number one, it is unprofessional to apologize in such scenario. It’s a common occurrence to wait in line when calling customer service, so it is something expected from the one calling. Second, if they choose to apologize, then it seems more like an inconvenience than something expected when calling a busy customer service line. It is an inconvenience for the caller, but saying sorry highlights the long wait. Thanking the caller for their patience, however, points out the good character of the caller and takes the focus away from the inconvenience.
Not Applicable to All Scenarios
Aside from highlighting a person’s good qualities instead of your negative ones, it is a form of politeness to thank people for their time and putting up with your delay. If your mistake or error was a one-time thing, you can use this to avoid apologizing when it’s either unprofessional or unnecessary. However, there comes a point when you can’t keep apologizing this way and you need to actually say sorry and start changing something about yourself.
Let’s say that you’re meeting up with a friend, and you’re late by a few minutes. It’s a one-time thing, you’ve never been late before. This is the perfect time to thank them for their patience. As long as you know you’ll never repeat this mistake and estimate your travel time to your meeting point better in the future, you’ll never have to apologize for being late.
However, let’s say you’re constantly late or you’re late by an hour. Whether you say sorry or say thank you makes no difference because it’s clear that the last times you’ve apologized were all just empty words. Apologizing is pointless when you do nothing to rectify the situation. Instead, you are simply taking advantage of that person’s patience. And even a patient person has their limits.
Or, if you’re in a business setting, there comes a point where you really have to straight-up apologize and say sorry. For example, if there is a delay in shipping out orders, it may be smarter to apologize for the inconvenience in case they decide to cancel their order, leaving you at a loss.
Getting Rid of Negativity
It seems like a small and pointless change to the way you handle your mistakes, but overtime, it can affect the way you see yourself. If you constantly have to say sorry to others as a way of apologizing, you’re always highlighting the negative things you do, which can eventually take a toll. However, if you thank people for the patience to apologize, you’re not only highlighting the positive thing they did for you, but you are being polite and focusing on them.
However, there comes a point when you may take advantage of a person’s patience. Once this happens, thanking them for their patience no longer adds any value as they may slowly begin to see that your apologies, regardless of what you say, means nothing as you don’t intend to change.