15: Reminder2self: Accountability

Three years of work and I am beginning to understand a key lesson of this moment: “Accountability doesn’t mean punishment. Accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility for our own actions.”



One

Self-defense is not just a set of techniques, it’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending

Rorion Gracie

Two

Requiring accountability while also extending your compassion is not the easiest course of action, but it is the most humane, and, ultimately the safest for the community.

Brene Brown

Reminder To Self

Accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility.

Holding myself responsible is an act of self-defense because it provides an opportunity to grow and learn. Therefore, acts of accountability are also an act of self-love. I am responsible for the impact of my actions on my life and the lives of others.

I am the only person responsible for my choice to use secrets and lies to hide multiple affairs, with multiple women, over multiple relationships, over multiple years. I am responsible for doing this even when I knew it was against my own values, best interests, and my own heart.

Compassion requires I acknowledge that “every morning is an opportunity to begin again. What I do today is what matters most.”

For this reason, I maintain this online blog, go to counseling every week, where appropriate share my experience with others without shame, and pursue partnerships with people that don’t make me responsible for their feelings.

I don’t do this for anyone else other than me. I am accountable to the life I am living and not the life other people want me to live. Defending my life means I own only what is true and not what people imagine is true.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Self-defense is not the same as defensiveness.

Defensiveness is an physical response to emotional overwhelm and rigidity. Accountability requires when I return to equilibrium I greet my actions with curiosity: why did I respond this way in that situation?

Self-defense requires I acknowledge my defensiveness and remember when embraced, the lesson of mistakes lead to growth.

Having a partner with a similar value helps immensely in finding the emotional equilibrium between the shame, stories, entitlement, and trauma that fuel my neurologically charged defensiveness.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Calling for accountability is an act of self-defense.

Are they unwilling to take responsibility or am I unwilling to see the situation from any perspective other than my own? I am accountable to my own growth; I am not responsible for their growth.

I have a right to exist but it is my responsibility to defend my existence. If others don’t recognize the impact of their choices am I willing to take actions in self-defense even if it results in possibly new vulnerabilities?

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


I am equally accountable.

Calling other people to accountability requires I hold myself accountable too.

Today I am willing to be accountable to what happens next. Choosing to avoid the hard actions results in me remaining bitter, angry, stuck, and entitled. Willingness to hold myself accountable for my responses and choices without blame is a sign of growth. Holding myself accountable is an act of self-defense.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Blame undermines accountability.

Blaming makes other people responsible for my feelings. I blame when I feel like a victim. I blame when someone confronts my entitlement. I blame when I don’t have the tools to express what I am feeling.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Growth is optional, change is inevitable.

Other people are not responsible for how I feel about how they act. Other people are under no obligation to grow. Other people are not constrained to a life defined by my expectations or opinions. Other people are not obligated to be the people I want them to be.

Times always change, people choose to grow.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Understanding is not required.

My lack of understanding of other people’s motives, intentions, or trauma is not their burden to explain. Calling for accountability is the pathway to owning my truth and allowing the other person the opportunity to clarify their intentions, and where appropriate to amend their actions.

Greeting their choices with curiosity allows me to see where I might also be biased and need to take responsibility.

Nothing happens in a vacuum.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Personal accountability is an act of self-love.

Being accountable to my feelings, and the choices I make in response to that data, is essential to accountability. Self-love demands I embrace these emotional truths and own what is true.

I have to do this even when it is unpopular. Even when it is contrary to expectations. Even if it means my choices appear inconsistent. Even if it isn’t popular. Even when it is uncomfortable, hard, and requires sacrifice.

Even when it requires other people being hurt. A nuance too often ignored in meaningful conversations about infidelity, integrity, accountability, and self-love.

I cannot reconcile my relationships with others until I reconcile my emotional self with my actions. I cannot reconcile my choices with my life until I reconcile my identity with my choices.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


Accountability is not punishment.

Choosing to be accountable requires I remain curious and look beyond the cliches and blame. Only I can hold myself accountable. Punishing other people is not holding people accountable.

Self-love relies on self-compassion and self-awareness, not self-shaming and self-contempt. Self-shame and self-contempt is self-punishment.

Living with Shame is an ugly place, breeding ugly choices.

As Alain de Botton writes, “I hate myself more than you ever could.” And in that self-hated I punished myself for betraying my Love(s), life, and myself for the entire season I was cheating and for a long time after.

And in that self-hated I confused punishment for accountability.

This is hard to apply. Applying this lesson requires self-awareness and practice.


More will be revealed…