Apologies lend themselves to criticism; if you’re a cynical person you’re not going to take them seriously. Or you’ll think whoever apologized to you was doing so for selfish, appearances-based reasons. This of course, depends on the nature of the apology. Sometimes apologies are insincere or casual, because they don’t need to be sincere. Other times, apologies are grave. They’re not to be taken lightly.
I was always taught that true apologies don’t justify, criticize, question or make excuses; they are an admission of wrongdoing and an expression of regret. Apologies exist because we can’t take back what happened in the past but we can let those we hurt or upset know that we wish so badly that we could, that we’re stripping ourselves of pride and telling them so. An authentic apology is something we do when we know the other person wants, and deserves an apology, even if we feel it’s the wrong thing to do. In this regard, an authentic apology is not something that comes easily; it is in fact, one of the hardest things to do and for this same reason, one of the most meaningful things to do.
People have a choice to disregard an apology; just because one is offered to you, doesn’t mean that you have to take it. Refusing to accept or acknowledge an apology comes from a place of contempt which in some cases is justifiable. Sometimes the point though of apologizing, is not to gain someone else’s forgiveness. But so that you are able to forgive yourself.