too late for apologies?

I've been listening to the Timbaland and One Republic song "Apologize" a lot lately. I'm not sure why I like it. The lyrics are fairly simple and repetitive but the music itself, the arrangement is hard to turn off. I started thinking about apologies and when it's too late for them to matter, to mean anything. I think a blanket "I'm sorry" is rarely enough to patch up any disagreement or misunderstanding. There are times when an apology sounds hollow and times when there's nothing else to say. I like apologies to be specific as if the person realizes why I'm upset or how they've hurt or angered me. When someone I knew was in AA they were working on making amends but the problem was I didn't completely believe him. It would have been different if he'd said, "I'm sorry that I took advantage of you and never considered how you might feel. Oh and I'm sorry that I stole money from you and asked you to be responsible for me. In my own destruction, I destroyed a lot of things around you, too. You didn't deserve that and I'm sorry." That would have been one thing. At least then I would have known that there was an understanding of the extent of the damage and hurt I felt. But of course, like everything else in our "friendship", his apology was about him.

The thing about apologies is that when you receive one it's never really the way you wanted it to be. Because to be honest, you'd rather there not be cause for the apology in the first place. Sometimes things happen that no one can control: a loss or trauma, something unexplained. The universe doesn't always say, "I'm sorry" in these cases. And even if it did, it wouldn't be enough. It never really is, which is why when I offer apologies I know it only goes so far.

I apologize to people in my life frequently, mostly because I'm not paying attention to how I sound or act or react. I inadvertently hurt people's feelings. I've been trying to be more aware because I think that truly feeling sorry about something means you try not to repeat your mistakes. And I think that effort counts for something; I hope it does. I hate hurting people I love. I hate that look, the one that makes you hate yourself a little because you know on a visceral level the amount of pain you've caused. Everyone has a threshold of apologies: do you know where yours is?

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