Do you remember when your parents made you apologize for doing something unfavorably as a child? I do. And I distinctively recall doing it to appease them, so I can carry on with the remainder of my day. But if we are being honest, it wasn’t until my mid-twenty’s when I comprehended why apologizing was so important.
“Accountability feels like an attack when you’re not ready to take responsibility for your actions + how those actions affect your loved ones.”
– read that again
Culturally I believe we as a society harper on the negative feelings of holding ourselves accountable. For example, apologizing is usually accompanied by embarrassment, anger, guilt, and even sadness. When we should really be encouraged, applauded, and depending on the situation forgiven. Owning our responsibilities + holding ourselves accountable should not be “the walk of shame.” Being able to acknowledge the role(s) we play in an interaction, argument, disagreement etc is apart of being emotionally mature. And this is an area where many of us fall short. And again, this could be a consequence of the negative emotions accompanied by taking accountability. You decide.
During moments of holding oneself accountable, sometimes we may feel like we’re “being the bigger person” and we shouldn’t. Because the two are not synonymous. Being the bigger person is when we take responsibility for both parties involved, for the sake of keeping the peace. Even if you do not believe you were in the wrong. Taking accountability for our actions is stating “ I acknowledge my actions hurt or upset you, and because of this I will be more mindful about xyz moving forward.” Accountability isn’t a peace- offering, it’s a learning opportunity + form of respect for your loved one(s).
I cannot count the amount of times my mother or a loved one told me to be the bigger person. And sometimes I caved and did just that. Just like I did as a child… To appease them and continue with the remainder of my day. But while I was appeasing them I was punishing myself. How can I take responsibility for someone else’s actions? I can’t nor should I.
Surely there are moments when it can be beneficial for both parties to let things go, or agree to disagree. But when we repetitively practice taking accountability for the other person’s behavior, what we’re doing is minimizing our authentic feelings. We are conditioning ourselves that our feelings + opinions are invalid, and not as important as the other person’s. Talk about people pleasing + self-sabotaging.
“We’re not doing that anymore”.
The truth is this: Practicing accountability is hard. It requires honesty, vulnerability, and as much as you might hate to read this… a smaller ego. It’s not always about us. And sometimes there is a negative ripple effect because of us. Because sometimes we fuck up + hurt people. Sometimes we are the villain in the story. Sometimes our behaviors cause unfavorable consequences. Be mindful of your loved ones before speaking your minds. Take a moment to pause + reflect on how your behavior, words, and actions may affect those around you. And never forget: Apologizing does not make us weak, it makes us emotionally mature. And taking responsibility for our actions doesn’t make us “the bigger person.” It makes us a caring one.
The world needs more of that.