לע"נ ר' יואל בן ר' פינחס הלוי
One of my observations of life over 44 and a half years is that it is very difficult for people to genuinely apologize. People are constantly hurting each other, knowingly and unknowingly. This is because people are often self-absorbed and people are also sensitive, so it is inevitable that people will be hurt.
What is shocking is how people can cause others anguish, even for years, and never apologize. An apology is mandated for one of two reasons - either because the party that was hurtful was really guilty or maybe he or she is innocent but someone was feeling pain as a result of their actions [עיין שפ"א בסוף מסכת יומא ההבדל בין בקשת מחילה בערב יו"כ לשאר ימות השנה]. How can a person sleep at night knowing that he caused another person pain and not make amends?
Yet I know many many people like this.
The psychological reasons for this are often complex and beyond the scope of our discussion but the reality is that many wounded people could be healed if the "wounders" would just acknowledge their guilt and ask if there is anything they can do to make amends and fix any damage.
So spouses - constantly apologize to your partner. There is almost no doubt that at times you did or said something to which they took offense [especially if your wife is female. Not that males aren't sensitive but Chazal highlighted the heightened sensitivity of women].
Children: Apologize to your parents. You owe them your very existence:-).
Parents: Apologize to your children. They need you most and you were not always there for them.
Friends - apologize to friends. They depended on you and you let them down.
All of this apologizing will bring much good in its wake.
1] People will feel less repressed guilt.
2] They will not have to face Divine retribution for their actions.
3] Friendships will be mended and people will become bonded. It is hard to bond with someone who hurt us and never acknowledged it.
4] [This is big:] Since one is accustomed to searching for ways to improve and correcting flaws - the world will be a better place. People will do a lot less things that require apologies.
5] It will bring to a heightened sense of self awareness.
Chazal teach us that the 10 martyrs we talk about on Tisha B'av died horrific deaths because of what the brothers did to Yosef and NEVER RECEIVED FORGIVENESS [read the psukim carefully]. Let us not make the same mistake.
About the most important word in the English language "Sorry".
Let me take this opportunity to ask anyone I have ever [knowingly or unknowingly] offended to please tell me so that I can make amends...