When I was a teenager a friend of mine had a dog. I think her name was Molly? As a sort of party trick my friend would look into her eyes and say really sweetly, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She would stare up at him with the most loving expression. Then he would say, "I'm NOT sorry" and she would lose her ever-loving mind. Barking and spinning in circles.
Her seemingly righteous indignation was the embodiment of a twisted internal relationship I had with anger and apology. If you bumped into me I would immediately apologize. It was pure reaction I didn't have to think about it. The kids I hung out with would get so annoyed. Whenever I apologized they would roll their eyes and say, "Ugh! Stop saying you're sorry!" and I would immediately apologize for my apologizing. I don't know when this emotional nervous tic or why began. I suspect my desire for peace meant that I would do whatever it took to keep calm seas. Confrontation unsettled me. I want to go back to my younger self and give her a big hug and then tell her to please snap out of it already!
Thankfully I did. Though it took conscious, consistent effort to break the habit. Substituting 'Pardon Me' for those times when I bumped into someone or genuinely felt an apology was needed when I did something thoughtless. Apologies are great for acknowledging our behavior and making amends. They are not great when we are apologizing for taking up space. We don't owe anyone an apology for being.
You are here. You get to be here. No good comes out of shrinking ourselves or trying to be less than to accommodate other people. If you feel yourself wanting to play small ask why.
A simple tool I use when I am around people and in situations is to check in with my body. I treat it as if it were a phone battery. Do I feel like I am plugged in, being charged up or does it feel like I am being drained and losing bars?