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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If there’s one word I can confidently use to describe us as Generation Z, it would be self-deprecating. Let me tell you why: It starts with the fact that all we do is compare ourselves to others online. Then, you look at our humor; it’s jokes like “throw me out with the trash, that’s where I belong” or “I’m dying alone” or anything to do with hating yourself. Then, it’s the fact that we communicate this self-deprecation in a serious way as well. As a legend once said, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days”. It’s true, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we’re all very tough on ourselves and we aren’t afraid to blame ourselves for every minor inconvenience. It’s great to think we’re attempting to own up to our actions, but blaming yourself for everything ever is toxic. Another way to describe our generation comes from the simple phrase “cancel culture”. Though it’s completely out of pocket most of the time, I can say one thing we should cancel is saying sorry, at least the unnecessary ones.

Why to stop saying “sorry”

“Say you’re sorry”, your parents probably said to you a multitude of times when you were little. We were raised to do the polite thing, but it might have become a bad habit for some. Brownie points for those who are just so polite, but this is flawed when it turns into hating on yourself. What does the word “sorry” really mean? It’s what you say to someone when you do something wrong. I bet that you, yes you reading this, have said sorry for something that wasn’t wrong. 

“Sorry for not wanting to come out tonight. I want to have some me-time.”
“Sorry, my laugh is so annoying”
“Sorry, I look like a bum, I didn’t feel like dressing up today.”

Saying you’re sorry for things like this, for things that aren’t wrong is nothing but you invalidating your feelings and needs. It comes off as self-deprecating and can subconsciously affect how you think about yourself. When you apologize for an obnoxious laugh any time it comes out, there’s a good chance you’re going to continue to be more insecure about it rather than embracing how you express yourself. There are so many people in this world that are going to invalidate you as a person, so if anyone’s going to validate you, it needs to be yourself. Own up to who you are.

say “thank you” instead of saying “sorry”

Instead of saying “sorry” at times that are unnecessary, try trading it in for saying “thank you”. This might sound confusing but listen to how much better this sounds.

Instead of “sorry for being late”, try “thank you for waiting on me”.
Instead of “sorry for not wanting to come out tonight” try “thank you for the offer, I love spending time with you, but I’m in need of some me-time.”
Instead of “sorry, that was a long story” try “thank you for listening, I realize that was a lot to take in.”

There’s a big significance between the “sorry statement” and the “thank you statement”. When you look at the “sorry statement”, it hurts everyone involved. The self-deprecation reflects back onto your own conscience, while also putting all-around negativity in the air. The “thank you” statement, though, has such a positive effect on what you’re communicating. When you thank someone for their actions or their reaction to your actions, it’s showing that you appreciate them. More importantly, it shows that their actions don’t go unnoticed by you. Showing your gratitude to someone rather than unnecessary self-deprecation will do wonders for not only your mental health but your friendships. Removing negativity about yourself and adding positivity and gratification towards others instead is such a small change, but so powerful.

reinventing how you communicate

When you make the big switch to “thank you’s”, it puts the power back into your words. We’re so used to throwing the word “sorry” around to the point where it becomes disingenuous. Cutting out unnecessary apologies means that the apologies you do make will have more effect and meaning behind it. Coming off as a friend that gives not only meaningful apologies, but gratitude is something we should all strive to do.

At the end of the day, we all make mess-ups that we should actually say sorry for. However, it’s 2021, it’s time to be unapologetic and cut out the negativity and show more love in any way possible.

Abbi Donaldson is a Class of 2024 student of University of Central Florida majoring in Advertising/Public Relations. She loves writing poetry and music as well as reading. She's passionate about politics, music and fitness and hopes to use her love for writing to further her career.
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