The word sorry loses its magic when you use it too often, especially for the same mistake. The first rule of saying 'I'm sorry' is to rectify the mistake, and ensure that you never repeat it. You need to go to the root of the problem, amend it, and ensure that there will be no more future incidents of the same type.
It's not easy to say sorry, especially when you don't think you are at fault. But at times, it is good to express regret to help calm things down. Sorry is not a way to avoid confrontation. Sorry is a way to bridge the gap of communication that often gets derailed in relationships.
The words 'I'm sorry' have to be conveyed meaningfully. If you have made a mistake, confess it and come clean. Seek forgiveness with remorse in your heart. Be courageous to accept punishment and don't pass the buck, even if you are not fully responsible for the crime. Here are some 'I'm sorry' quotes for inspiration.
"I am sorry for what has happened and I know that I need some help."
"I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it."
"I felt ashamed for what I had done. I don't have any excuses. I did what I did. I take full responsibility for myself and my actions. I wouldn't pawn this off on anybody. I'm sorry it happened. And I hurt people."
(in his speech after the Monica Lewinsky affair)
"It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine: First and most important, my family; also my friends, my staff, my Cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness."
"I do not plan in any way to whitewash my sin. I do not call it a mistake, a mendacity; I call it sin. I would much rather, if possible -- and in my estimation it would not be possible -- to make it worse than less than it actually is. I have no one but myself to blame. I do not lay the fault or the blame of the charge at anyone else's feet. For no one is to blame but Jimmy Swaggart. I take the responsibility. I take the blame. I take the fault."
"You're my backbone. You're a blessing. You're a piece of my heart. You're the air I breathe. And you're the strongest person I know, and I'm so sorry for having to put you through this and having to put our family through this."
(after his anti-Semitic tirade)
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge."
(on his racist remarks)
"You know, I'm really busted up over this and I'm very, very sorry to those people in the audience, the blacks, the Hispanics, whites -- everyone that was there that took the brunt of that anger and hate and rage and how it came through, and I'm concerned about more hate and more rage and more anger coming through, not just towards me but towards a black/white conflict."
"I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people that I cared about the most, and I am terribly sorry. I am deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and my actions."
"I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means -- except by getting off his back."
(after the steroids case)
"I recognize that by saying that I'm deeply sorry, it might not be enough and sufficient to address the pain and the hurt that I have caused you. Therefore, I want to ask for your forgiveness for my actions, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
"I want to say to each of you, simply, and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in."
"Every young sculptor seems to think that he must give the world some specimen of indecorous womanhood, and call it Eve, Venus, a Nymph, or any name that may apologize for a lack of decent clothing."
"I'm sorry my existence is not very noble or sublime."
"I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you."
"If I have any regrets, I could say that I'm sorry I wasn't a better writer or a better singer."
"If I hurt someone, if I were to accidentally poke someone's eye out, I would laugh. And then I'd say, 'I'm sorry, I really do feel bad,' but then I'm on the floor rolling."
Rev. Ted Haggard
(in his sexual immorality letter)
"I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you… But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life."
John F. Kennedy
"I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on another planet because their scientists were more advanced than ours."
"I am sorry to say that sometimes matters of very small importance waste a good deal of precious time, by the long and repeated speeches and chicanery of gentlemen who will not wholly throw off the lawyer even in Congress."
Henry David Thoreau
"I am sorry to think that you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness."
"It's getting to the point where I am no fun anymore, I am sorry. Sometimes it hurts so badly I must cry out loud, 'I am lonely.' I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are, you make it hard."
"I ask the people of Connecticut for their forgiveness, I should have paid more attention to people around me and people that I trusted but I am sorry for my actions and take full responsibility.