Accountability in Relationships Part 1: “Taking the Blame” vs “The Ability to Respond”
Life is chalk full of choices — but along with those choices come many consequences. What easier and more palpable way to swallow the more negative ones we make than by pointing the finger and curling up in a victimized fetal position?
Often, when faced with the negative outcomes of our choices, we prefer to imagine that there always HAS to be something that was done to us first — because to actually take responsibility, and admit that the negative outcome was in direct relation to a choice and action WE made, is more than unnerving!
This kind of acceptance of our own responsibility often places before us a disturbing reflection of ourselves and our actions…reminiscent of one we might see in the fun-house mirror at the circus.
In this day and age, when most of us are intelligent enough to self-diagnose the nature of our individual flaws, and acknowledge the sometimes-negative effects of our actions, why is it still so hard to “take the blame?”
Perhaps seeing it as blame – rather than responsibility – is the root of the problem.
Some definitions of responsibility include on “the state or fact of being accountable for something,” “duty to deal with something,” “liability,” or “obligation.” All of these words sound stern, off-putting, and distasteful! But what about seeing responsibility in light of the two words it comes from: “respond/response” and “ability”?
In this light, responsibility — the ability (“talent that enables,” “capacity to do something”) to respond becomes a positive quality – rather than one of blame and indictment.
Similarly accountability (“to be responsible to someone or for some activity”) simply becomes the ability to provide clear and rational answers or explanations for your choices.
Realizing that you have the ability to think about your actions and make choices — with a knowledge that you want to be able to explain them and feel good about them later – is actually empowering! Looking at accountability and responsibility as positive qualities to aim for in every situation will ensure your actions, choices and behaviors remain at your highest levels – and result in the best possible outcome for all involved.
Stephanie Benoit is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in motivation and empowerment. An editor, writer, and contributor for several magazines, she loves to share her gift of writing with the world. She aspires to inspire people to reach their goals and God-given purpose. To reach Stephanie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on twitter: @stephaniebenoit.