If you've ever had someone "apologize" to you and then do the very thing that they "apologized" for, multiple times, you understand why an apology is an action word. Maybe you received an apology that was sarcastic or dismissing, for something that hurt you so deeply, and I am so sorry for every time this has happened to you.
Someone was incapable of giving you what you deserve, and their behavior and ingenuine apologies injured the relationship, particularly if the offense was severe or ongoing. If trust has been greatly sabotaged, you have no choice but to rely on the behavior of that individual, rather than their words, and reevaluate your participation in that relationship.
It simply doesn't make sense to place trust where it has not been respected.
Simply put, apologies lose credibility when the harmful action keeps on happening. Run the same tape long enough and apologies are left meaningless.
Sometimes we receive these empty apologies and sometimes we're the ones giving them. We may have apologized to get someone off of our backs, avoid facing someone else's reaction, or just to feel better about ourselves. The thing is that apologies are not about us… they are about mending relationships and being accountable for the damage we've caused.
In order to give a heartfelt apology, we start by putting ourselves into another person's shoes. If we don't understand why our behavior is hurtful, we can always gently ask "why does it hurt you so much? I want to understand". In this way, we can learn to be more attuned to how our behavior impacts others, and make changes where necessary.
Today, take the time to think about the apologies that you've received or given and reflect on what changes you could make. Give the kind of apologies that you'd like to receive.