"I'm sorry". We've all said it. We've all heard it. We've all meant it (or at least we thought we did). This simple phrase has always meant a great deal to me. Maybe it's because I have never had a problem saying it and then following through on this sincere statement. Or maybe it's because when I hear these words spoken to me I expect the very same sincerity in return and when this does not happen, I find myself disappointed and a little less respectful of the offender.
There are many motivators behind this phrase. Some are quite honest in sincere, while others are based in their own egotistical self preservation. In other words, the only thing they are sorry for is being caught behaving badly and not wanting to suffer any of the consequences.
To be truly sorry means that whatever it is that you are sorry for, after you apologize you are making a commitment to not do whatever it was that you were sorry for in the first place ever again. That's how strongly I feel about this admonition.
I do not want to just hear these words, I want to see action and follow through with this statement every time. You should mean what you say and say what you mean at all times possible, and expect the same respect back. Do not let others mislead you with these words that you've wanted and deserved to hear, only to have the offender repeat their bad behavior over and over again. In this, these words have absolutely no meaning and you are, at some point, now responsible for allowing this cycle to continue and the pain that ensues because of it.
When my children were very young, teaching them how to properly apologize was of the utmost importance to me (among many other things). After their obligitory "I'm sorry" was spoken, I had them explain, out loud, to what they were sorry for and to promise not to do whatever that was again. Yes, it took quite a while for it all to stick, and I knew it would be a process; but I knew that it would eventually turn into sincerity. I knew that it would make them a bit more empathetic and trustworthy.
In closing, I would just like to reiterate the magnitude of this phrase, "I'm sorry". I would like you, dear reader, to be a bit more mindful when using it yourself and to not accept anything less from those around you who speaks these words to you. Be blessed and be kind.