Replacing “Sorry” with “Thank You”. I stumbled across this concept a few months ago, and it’s far from new. Google search Replacing Sorry with Thank You and you’ll find many people have resonated with it and shared their perspectives and stories about it.
For me, it’s solved a couple things in my life.
- How I perceive myself when I make a mistake or fail.
- How others react when I make a mistake or fail.
It turns making mistakes and failing from being a terrible embarrassing thing that should be avoided at all costs, to something that is normal, healthy, and a thing that can now be celebrated as a learning and collaboration opportunity.
A personal example of a scenario that has been improved by this switch is my spelling and grammar mistakes. Spelling and grammar checkers can only go so far with my impeccable skill of still sneaking in errors when I write. For many years, when another person would point out any writing errors to me, I’d immediately apologize and proceed to overanalyze the embarrassment how I “let it happen again”. This put me in the position of being the only person who was in charge of fixing the problems, and devaluing myself when I yet again didn’t succeed and someone had to point it out again.
Fast forward to today where I still make spelling and grammar mistakes, and now I thank people for letting me know when they find one. Immediately, this turned improving my writing into a collaborative event rather than one that purely rested on my shoulders. I also noticed people saying that they were happy to help, and occasionally expressing that it’s because they too make mistakes and appreciate when others help find them before they are officially sent/published. This shows me that they aren’t looking down on me for the folly’s, and instead are pleased that they can be of service. It’s a celebration of supporting each other, rather than a highlight of judgement and not hitting the mark. I’ve also improved my spelling and grammar ever so slightly because I’m being exposed to more of the things I may be missing and have picked up on trends that I now better recognize.
It makes self improvement and experimentation exciting and more often than not I can’t wait to partner with people and say “you help me with my weaknesses, and I’ll help you with yours!”. Less trying to mask what’s very challenging, and more communicating about it and using the team work to make the dream work approach.
Is it possible to always replace thank you with sorry? Absolutely not. There will always be scenarios that require a proper apology (see this LifeHack.org article to dig into that a little more). That said, there are a great many that can, and I highly recommend the switch to anyone and everyone. Yes fellow Canadians, even you can make the switch!
Thank you, to everyone that has taken the time to read this and I appreciate all of you that know me and share with me when you see not only my typos, but all of the things that might improve my time on this place we call earth.