Sometimes we think back on a situation and realize we may have completely misinterpreted events and were actually in the wrong when we thought the other party was.
We realize our error, our completely inappropriate behavior given the circumstances, and apologize. It may not be a deep and profound apology but it is still sincere.
While other times we begin to fully understand the extent of damage that we cause ourselves and others due to our behavior. We learn the true meaning of regret and remorse and are deeply sorry for what we've done.
To illustrate these two very different reasons for apologizing we've chose these two personal apologies submitted by our readers.... Rebecca writes...
To the gentleman in the parking lot, I'm very sorry I lost my cool. I'm sorry I bumped your car door with mine. I was going to apologize to you, but you had closed your door, I thought you didn't care since there was no damage.
I went inside the store for a moment, asked my question and turned around. I saw you were still there. I went back outside, thinking you were waiting for me, so I was going to knock on your window and let you know I was sorry.
Then you rolled down your window and said "That wouldn't have happened if she had pulled in straight" and that's when I lost my cool.
I told you to just go home and that we weren't doing this today, because, you see, you were the one who was crooked in your spot. I was very angry that someone would say that when I was trying to do the right thing and I lost my cool.
I was immediately embarrassed when I got into the car. You see, I try to always be polite, and today I wasn't. - It didn't occur to me until hours later that you might have said "That wouldn't have happened if WE had pulled in straight" and were just trying to make light of the situation.
Your kids in the car might have been saying "We're sorry" not for your perceived anger at me, but trying to get me to calm down and see you were really just being funny. --Either way, I am so very sorry.
If you thought we were in the wrong, I'm sorry I bumped your car with my door and then lost my cool at what you said. - If you were just trying to be funny, I'm sorry I ranted like a crazy b*tch and didn't give you the time to explain. - I'm am truly embarrassed at my behavior.
I am so very sorry for the way I handled things. You were the best husband in the world and I stomped on our sacred trust.
When I realized that I needed to leave I was in so much pain. It was unbearable. But I left in the worst way ever-hurting you and hurting myself.
I don't know how I will ever forgive myself but I am working on it. I don't expect you to forgive me though I feel that you do which speaks volumes re: the wonderful person that you are.
But nothing will ever excuse my hurtful behavior and bad choices. I have never in my life known remorse until the past 2 years. It is a h*llish place to be but that is where I live.
I want the very best for you, I love you, you are truly one of the good people on this planet.
Thank you for providing me the safety and love that I so needed during our 13 beautiful years together. Because of you I learned to know love and self love. You believed in me so! I have also learned so much from my pain re: my actions and I will continue to soul search and better myself to hopefully make amends with myself.
You did nothing to deserve what I did. I wish you happiness. I love love love you forever and ever.
Update: We added this apology from Nicole which we thought would be a good fit for this page.
There are so many reasons to give heartfelt personal apologies in a timely manner. As we see from Nicole's submission, she's carried both regret and remorse over what happened for a very long time. It's never too late to apologize but in most cases, the earlier the better.
To the guy at a party two years ago,
I am so sorry that I said those very mean things about you in front of everyone. I don't even know your name. I don't know what made me say those hurtful things about you but I was under the influence and would never have made fun of you if I was in the right state of mind.
I feel like a disgusting, stereotypical mean girl. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself.
You ran out of the house before I could apologize and I don't know if you will ever see this but if you do, please know that I have thought about you since that night.
I am sure that you are a wonderful person inside and out. Please know that and never let self-righteous idiots like myself ever make you feel like you are worthless.
I am the worthless one and I'm so unbelievably sorry for that night. I hope that some day you can forgive me.
Another important reminder from one of our readers about supporting family and friends and the regret we feel when we don't what we know is right. Years of Regrets Justin - I apologize for not being a kinder sister. You were badly bullied in school and I did nothing to help. When you said you were depressed it tore my heart in half. I blamed myself for a year. Every time I hear of suicides I imagine how it could have been you and I feel my regret come rushing back to me. I'm so thankful you made it through your worst years.
Emily - I apologize for being a bad friend. I say we are best friends, and now I realize I have not been holding up my end. A best friend wouldn't go and tell your secrets, she wouldn't start rumors, and she wouldn't be jealous of you. I want to make things better with you but I don't know how. I apologize for not being able to be as wonderful of a friend as you are.