I’ve always found apologies and the act of apologizing overrated. Generally, most people resort to an apology when they feel like they’ve done something wrong or when they’ve somehow failed to comport themselves in line with norms of decorum. It usually seems like nothing more than a habit, a reaction as opposed to an independent action. While some habits can be good habits, one ought to always be aware of the reasons for why they act in a certain way, so as to be sure that they continually behave in a manner that they can be certain is in line with their values.
Sometimes, the best way to get your point across is with a story, and so now is where I’ll ask you to come along as I spin you a short yarn. Let’s envision for a moment a person who’s taken to living a life devoted to the service of others. From the outside, they appear to be virtuous: they are dedicated and devout, and by all external measures clearly what one would consider a “good” person. They never raise their voice to complain, and seek out ways to help others constantly, and seem saintly. However, if they lived their entire life secretly begrudging those they seemed to kindly serve, would they still seem to be a “good” person?
No. Goodness stems from within and ought to radiate out, and happiness comes when your thoughts are in line with your actions. When you are genuinely good, you’ll naturally be inclined to care about others and seek to avoid being careless, and will minimize the need for apologies. As they say, actions speak louder than words. An apology may sound nice, but the words are hollow if the person continues to act in a manner that is still offensive despite their alleged awareness of how it is affecting you.
Also, within every apology is the inherent aspect of looking back and expressing the sentiment that one wishes that they could have done things differently. You can study the past all you want, and indeed those who don’t know their history are condemned to repeat it. However, at some point unless you make the effort to move beyond the past, you’re just wallowing in it and allowing it to prevent you from moving forward in the present. Thus if and when I find myself in a situation where I genuinely did not know or did not intend to cause harm, I’ll apologize if I must, and amend my actions to avoid repeating the same mistake down the road.