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Due to certain recent experiences in my life and the observation of people in action I have come to the conclusion that the art of the apology seems a lost one.

And I have found that people, myself included at times, confuse excuses for explanations when they have wronged another in hopes, I suppose, of having some justification for being just plain out of line.

When an “I”m sorry” is followed by any type of finger pointing then the apology is automatically invalidated.

Saying “I’m sorry” should be a humbling experience not a humiliating one. That is to say that when we apologize we should feel a sense of modesty that is good for our soul and allows us to entirely move past what ever issue required the apology – resentment free.

However if we apologize and try to explain away our behavior by blaming a third party or even the party we are apologizing to then we have failed miserably in our attempt to make amends.

“I’m sorry” requires no further explanation if it is truly heartfelt and should ask nothing in return.

Saying “I’m sorry” is hard to do because it is admitting fault but it is also taking responsibility for being wrong which in turn allows us to be freed of the burden of guilt.

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Sometimes an explanation for why we did what we did is justified so long as it does not attempt to negate the behavior in question.

An explanation is defined as a statement or account that makes something clear.

An excuse is defined as an attempt to lesson the blame attached to a fault or offense; to seek or to justify one’s own behavior.

When you look at these definitions you can see a very big difference what they mean.

Excuses nullify apologies. Explanations clarify them which helps improve communication.

So even though recent events in my life have been painful, they have been eye opening and a good lesson for me. These events have helped me realize what the true definition of an apology is.

The next time I need to say that I am sorry, I will keep these observations in mind before I try to justify what should not be justified.

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