Accountability is something that is taught to people who want to truly change their paradigms and behavior. It is not a word held in the highest regard amongst people who are not yet prepared to make changes. In fact, this word can cause emotional responses such as depression, fury, anger, outrage, and violence. However, a person who truly wants to arise from a victim mentality to one of empowerment will gladly embrace the concept of accountability and hold it close. The following link gives tips on how to break out of the victim mentality: http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2009/10/09/how-to-break-out-of-a-victim-mentality-7-powerful-tips/
To hold self accountable for the outcomes of one’s life means to examine and own up to how your life choices shaped your current position in life. For example, if a client goes to his therapist and discusses his children’s unruly behavior, the therapist may ask the client what was his role in the children running amuck? Of course, the parent may become outraged and vehemently deny any role in the children’s unruly and defiant behavior, but upon further probing and discussion, the client may admit that he has himself been unruly and argumentative towards his wife and children at home. At that point, the client has admitted his part in the decline of his family and is prepared to take steps to augment those behaviors.
Clearly, he could have blamed the schools, the children’s peers or the children themselves. But a healthier approach is to acknowledge any and all factors, including his part in the deterioration of the children and family. It takes courage, maturity and strength of character to admit to coming up short, apologizing and taking steps to improve one’s behavior.
For some, the very mention of the phrase, “Take accountability for your actions and decisions,” cause them to become defensive and to give reasons why they have not been responsible in their lives.” Many take it as an attack on their character or decision-making skills. On the contrary, an admonition to take accountability for one’s thoughts, feelings, and decisions in life is not a suggestion that they are bad, evil people who should feel guilty or condemned. Neither is it an attack on their character. It is merely an attempt to get people to own up to how their ideals, values, behavior and decisions affected their lives. It gives people the opportunity to hold themselves responsible for every behavior in which they have engaged. It is a chance to celebrate the wise decisions and to change and grow from those which are unwise. While many things happen in life beyond our control, few things occur by happenstance.
Many happen by our actions and decisions. We are the sum total of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. For example, take the couple who is angry with each other for the relationship souring. A wise therapist would get them both to look at how their attitudes and behavior has contributed to the deterioration of the relationship. A person with a victim mentality will refuse to look at how her attitude may have contributed to her husband becoming withdrawn.
Instead, she will focus on his withdrawn behavior. Her husband on the other hand, playing the role of victim himself, may complain that she is very bitter and nags. A wise therapist would help him determine how his demanding and controlling behavior may have encouraged her to lash out and become passive-aggressive instead of using healthy, positive communication techniques. This is not assigning blame to either party, but it is asking them to hold themselves responsible for their contribution to a deteriorating relationship. Once they do this, they are poised to change and grow, as well as to restore the joy in their union. Changing and growing can occur whether the couple remains together or not, because growth begins with admitting there is a problem and taking responsibility for your part in it.
Whatever the reason for problems arising within our lives, it takes strength, character and fortitude to own up to our part in how things turned out in our lives, such as relationships, financial position or career choices. While many things happen beyond our control, many things happen because of our decisions. If we truly want to grow and change from any unwise life decisions, we must:
- Acknowledge our part in our circumstances
- Make confessions or ask forgiveness
- Change our behavior
- Grow from them
Admittedly, this may not be easy. However, with the aid of a trained professional therapist, life coach, paraprofessional such as minster or spiritual guide or self-help books, it is feasible. Relationship therapist Steve McCready of Sacramento boasts that therapist can provide clients with tools and skills that will assist them to manage the many challenges which they face during their lifetime. Therapists are not employed to judge, but to help clients. It can be well worth the investment to seek the support of a therapist.
Children who have gone astray have been restored to families where parents have gone to them and acknowledge their part in the children’s pain. These parents have acknowledged how their parenting skills, parental decisions or behavior within their marriage impacted their children. Following the above mentioned steps, they then apologized to the children and asked for forgiveness. Afterwards, they utilized therapeutic techniques which helped them to change their behavior, repair breaches within the relationship and then grow from the experience.
People who have made unwise financial decisions in life, once they acknowledge this are able to see where they could have done better and do so. To hide or run from their mistakes only makes recovering from them difficult.To take accountability for them shows maturity and a genuine desire to do better. Own up to the unwise financial decisions including spending, borrowing and money mis-management. Then examine the reasons behind the behavior, deal with them and modifiy or change that behavior. This is how we grow. If you need help, consider financial and credit counseling. Therapists can also help you explore the psychological implications behind unwise financial planning and behavior.
Finally, while a victim will wallow in their pity or pain, a survivor will arise from it and grow. This is a true testament of empowerment. We all go through stages of hardships and making unwise decisions, but when we are ready to grow and change, we will muster up the courage to admit mistakes and grow from them. This change begins with taking responsibility for our actions or inactions in life. This is also known as taking accountability for one’s behavior. It is a critical step in human growth and development and in realizing peace and joy which elude many people. Let us arise and take charge of our lives. We have control of our own decisions and behaviors. Let us use that control to steer our lives into one of abundant joy. It may not be easy. It takes courage. It takes fortitude. Got strength?