It means accepting that your own actions may have led you to the situation you’re in now, whether you like it or not.
The good news is that it also means celebrating yourself when you do something great. Own that amazing presentation you did at work and take responsibility and credit for the hard work you put into it. Be proud of yourself when you succeed at something.
So it’s not all doom and gloom. Acknowledging your actions can also mean giving yourself the respect you deserve.
We’ve all heard various quotes about being responsible for your own happiness, and there is so much truth in this.
By stepping up and accepting that your actions have consequences, you can find ways to make those consequences positive.
By realizing that you are in charge of your own life, you’ll find it much easier to start creating – and maintaining – your own happiness.
Why Is It Important To Be Accountable?
Accountability is crucial to having a good relationship with people around you, as well as with yourself.
Colleagues, for example, don’t want to work alongside someone who cannot take constructive feedback. They want to work with someone who is aware of their limitations as well as their strengths and who isn’t afraid to respond to others’ opinions and change things up if needed.
Friends and family members tend to give a lot more slack than work associates do, but that doesn’t mean they’ll let you coast along forever.
They’ll be willing to let a few things slide, to let you grow into yourself and not take full responsibility for everything all of the time. That said, there are limits!
At some point, the loved ones in your life will expect you to step up and be accountable.
Intimate relationships work the same way – equality is important in every relationship, so accepting responsibility is crucial to maintaining these bonds.
Now that you know how important it is for you to take responsibility for your actions and your life, how do you achieve this?
Well, you can…
1. Stop Making Excuses
For one, it gets boring very quickly! Even people who adore you will get bored of you constantly blaming others for things that are within your control.
Secondly, it’s exhausting for you. Shifting the blame makes you feel shifty a lot of the time, right? We often know when we’re pushing the blame onto someone else and it can leave us feeling pretty guilty and drained. It’s unfair on the other person you’re blaming things on, and it’s also unfair on you.
2. Break Your Bad Habit
Know that avoiding responsibility is as much a habit as it is a conscious decision. It is a mindset that you create and strengthen through repeated execution.
This can lead to accidentally pushing away the people you care about. You might accidentally blame something on a loved one because you’re so used to pushing away responsibility. This can really damage the relationships in your life.
It’s important to remember that each small shirk of responsibility builds up and can cause problems later along the line.
But, breaking the habit begins with identifying and accepting it for what it is. Once you do this, you’ll become more aware – more conscious – of when you are doing it. And this gives you the power to stop before you pull that verbal (or mental) trigger.
3. Put It On Paper
It might help if you start writing things down.
Our thoughts and feelings can get very messy and overwhelming, so it becomes really hard to process what’s really going on. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’re not taking responsibility for our actions because we’re not fully aware of what’s happening.
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get a new process in place.
Write down how you feel about certain events or people. That group work project that didn’t go to plan? Write down the part you played in it and consider, objectively, how well you did.
If you can genuinely say that your contributions were faultless, well done. If not, and you’re an actual human being(!), consider the ways you could have helped out more or gone further.
By seeing these ideas written down, you’ll realize in your own safe space that you’ve got room to grow.
Constructive feedback from others can feel like a slap in the face, however well-intentioned it may be. By seeing things you’ve observed about yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable accepting feedback and will learn to own your behavior.
Why Should You Do This And What Are The Benefits?
By accepting responsibility for the things you can control, you’ll feel more positive about your life in general.
Avoiding accountability can make us feel frustrated and more than a little guilty.
By acknowledging what we’re doing, we can lift those negative feelings away. Sure, we may still feel bad for accepting that we’ve not done our best, but at least we have a level of awareness and want to work toward bettering ourselves.
This positive attitude is proactive and will make you feel so much better about other aspects of your life, too. By getting into better habits, you’ll form a better mindset.
You’ll feel good about things and more confident in what you’re doing, which can lead to better results – a win-win situation!
By being responsible, you’re showing that you have respect for yourself and others. This can really help improve your relationships at work, as well as with your family, friends, and partner.
You’ll benefit so much from stepping up and owning your behavior and you’ll gain a lot of other people’s respect along the way.
So, really, what’s stopping you?
Sure, it can feel quite scary and intimidating at first, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly your mindset and behavior shift.
We’re not saying that you have to suddenly apologize for everything and constantly feel guilty and downtrodden! Just accept that you’re human and you’re never going to be ‘perfect’ in your own eyes.
By acknowledging what you’re doing and how you’re behaving, you can start to shape your life for the better. Accept yourself for who you are and find ways to make yourself feel better along the way.
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.