What does it mean to apologize? Is it just to say sorry? Or is it more? Words obviously have power. Anyone who has seen "Dead Poets Society" knows that. But does "sorry" hold the weight we presume it does? I believe that we quickly tire of the word. It's like a strong drug, it will never be as good as the first time. In addition I believe it needs to be followed by an action or it is rendered powerless. Screwing up then saying "I'm sorry" is great and all but it only means you acknowledge you have screwed up. If I just said "I'm sorry" every time I screwed up people would hate me. Instead I say the words then act and fix what I have done.
A wise man once told me that if the British had apologized and made an effort to make the American's feel equal then we would've never had a revolution. Alas the British did neither of those things and an apology would've indeed gone a long way but it would not have done the trick. The Americans would've still felt alienated. It would've merely postponed the American Revolution.
So again it becomes important to make the effort as well as say the words. History is full of instances where countries went further than the British in the 18th century. Yet, never went as far as to act. Nanking, Germany, America (several times). But a bunch of apologies don't go that far. They in fact make the situation a lot worse. It leaves something to be desired. And that feeling eats away at the soul. So next time you screw up, big or small, remember don't just say "I'm sorry," act on your words. Pay it forward. People will appreciate you more and you will build stronger relationships.