I was teaching a student recently whom I know very well. We were doing a familiar series of exercises when she began to grow tentative as we climbed higher. I stopped and realized something that I had not seen before; she was apologizing.
I was surprised that as her teacher I had not seen this before; she explained that this was an issue that had come to the fore recently for her as well. I often find I notice things when they’re showing themselves in student’s consciousness.
I said, “You know the only time to apologize is when you do something crappy and need to say ‘I’m sorry.'”
This bit of advice from a recovering severe over-apologizer.
The thing is, if I apologize for my presence or performance, I’m withholding parts of me from my audience. I’m editing parts that I think might be rejected or misunderstood.
Here’s what’s jacked about this thinking.
Number one, I don’t have enough actual insight on myself to know what should be edited out and what should be put forward; I don’t know what others are perceiving or picking up from me—that’s their business.
Number two, it short circuits the opportunity to have a satisfying interaction. If I go into a room in apology mode, I’m already asking someone else to take care of me. In an audition situation we are the solution bringers; we take care of the table people.
It’s super uncomfortable to let this apology habit go, but if we want to break through to giving full us when we do our thing, then that’s one thing that’s necessary.
And in the event that you do act like an ass, by all means, apologize.