What is apology? Acknowledging a mistake?
A lapse happens. We apologize. It's over.
Is there a take-away from this? Yes, we will ensure that the mistake doesn't happen again.
Now, picture this. We have done something, which from our perspective might have seemed right but ended up hurting someone. What do we in that case? Sometimes we sit on our high horse and insist that it wasn't our intention to hurt. Sometimes we give in. We say "Hey, I'm so sorry, I really didn't mean to hurt you. Please don't be mad at me."
Why do we do this? Is this a lie? No, it isn't. It comes out of honesty. We do this because of the kind of a relationship we share with the person. We do this because of the immense respect, care and concern we have for the person. We want to remain close to this person's heart all the time. Mind you, I am talking about all kinds of relationships here.
Every time some one has a fall, be it a stranger, don't we check on the person, as a reflex? We do this just to provide a moment of comfort for a person who is shaken. An apology is just that. When we do this to strangers on the road, can't we do it to for those who care for us and those we care for?
Most of us human beings are blessed with this thing called INTUITION. Let's use it. Not many people are going to tell you they are hurt. The silent reaction could vary from going off into a shell right up to suicide. (Sorry I don't mean to sound morbid but that's reality.) But if we use intuition, we can sense hurt. At the same time, I know it is not easy to look in the eye and say "Hey buddy, I'm sorry." It takes a lot of courage. If you want to say sorry but don't know how to do it, don't worry. Here's where intuition comes to play again. Try eye-contact or hold the person's hand quietly or just hover around the person, . The hurt friend will intuitively understand what you are up to and forgive you. Believe me, it works.
What can the act of forgiving do to a person that is hurt? It is not about ego. It is a way of healing themselves. It is a way of reassuring themselves about the strength of their relationship with you. Indirectly, regaining their own strength and personal conviction.
While doing all this, let us not forget that the learning after an apology is not temporary but permanent. Never, ever to hurt the person again.
PS: Personally speaking, I don't remember holding grudges against ANYONE all my life. There have been countless instances when I have apologized for no obvious fault of mine at all. I'm quite shameless that way! Similarly, if I sense even a whiff of remorse, trust me, I have their back-for a lifetime.