By Jennifer Butler
Accountability is a buzz word we use and hear about often, especially when going through an experience like divorce. In my opinion, accountability is a non-negotiable step in the healing process and without it, letting go and moving on becomes somewhat unattainable. It has been my experience though, that there is a lot of confusion around the word and resistance to the process. So, let’s start by getting very clear about what accountability really means.
Accountability means responsibility, or as I like to refer to it, “owning your own sh*t” or staying in your own lane. When we choose to be accountable, we become willing to take an honest look at how we have contributed or co-created the situations in our own life. We release the blame we put on others for the experiences in our life, and instead stand in our own power over how our life has unfolded. Our focus shifts completely to ourselves with a curiosity over how we have chosen to show up in our lives and the results we have created as a result.
Now, here is where it can get confusing because, many of you reading this will immediately begin to feel as though I am talking about blame. Many of us have experienced some really terrible things in our lives and our immediate reaction is that we are in no way taking the blame for those things. It can feel like making the choice to claim responsibility means letting the other person off the hook for their wrongdoings and placing the fault on ourselves. We dig our heels into the sand and refuse to budge, feeling like giving in to this line of thinking will make us weak and pathetic.
Understood and agreed. Taking the blame and claiming fault for the terrible actions of others would absolutely only serve to disempower you and eat away at your worth! YOU are not responsible for the hurtful actions of others and you are not at fault.
In this process, I uncovered a very deep and real belief in my lack of worth, my insecurities, and my craving to be loved and seen.
If we stop here and choose to stay stuck in focusing on the other person and the wrongness of their terrible actions, we will find it very hard to truly heal and ever be free of what has happened in our life. We get caught up in a loop of obsessing on how and why the past occurred and then become afraid of what could happen to us in the future. We anchor ourselves into this disempowered place and struggle to find the way out.
This is where accountability comes into play and can truly be the pathway to healing and moving on. Making the choice to be accountable means taking back your power and claiming your truth that you are an active participant in your life, influencing the world around you. It means that as you reflect, you are able to honestly look at past choices and actions and make adjustments that will produce different results in your future. The actions of the other person were wrong and awful AND how can I learn about myself and grow as the result of being in those experiences with that person?
I am going to share a very personal story with you that I hope exemplifies the importance and power of accountability in your life. When I was a teenager, I was in a physically abusive relationship. I was so in love with this person, yet he would get angry, full of rage, and hit me. His actions were wrong and I was not responsible for how he chose to behave. I am not to blame, I am not at fault, and I do not take ownership for his physical abuse. I can choose to stay focused on this part of the experience, and believe me, for a long time I did. I was very clear and rooted in how awful he was to me and that I did not deserve it. I felt like a victim of my past, helpless to my future, and I was getting nowhere fast.
And then I learned about the power of accountability and decided to take an honest look at myself and how I possibly could have been a co-creator in my experience with my past abusive boyfriend. In this process, I uncovered a very deep and real belief in my lack of worth, my insecurities, and my craving to be loved and seen. As I got very clear about this, I reflected on the way I felt when I was getting to know this boy, how my body would tighten up and the way I would act like someone different than myself. My intuition made loud attempts to steer me in another direction, but I chose to ignore that gut instinct and date him anyway. Over and over I chose to abandon my own happiness and guidance for the attention of this other person, making him more important than I made myself.
Over and over I chose to abandon my own happiness and guidance for the attention of this other person, making him more important than I made myself.
This is where the power of accountability becomes the pathway to freedom. Once I claimed this truth within myself, I then had the power to forgive myself, create new beliefs, and learn new patterns and ways of being. I was no longer a victim to my past and now had the power to actively create my future. A future that involves me tuning into my intuition at all times, setting boundaries that protect my worth and values, and always choosing me above all else. Owning my sh*t and focusing on my side of the street has given me the opportunity to make peace with my past, live in a present that brings me fulfillment, and joyfully engage in creating my future.
More than anything, this is what I want for you. To discover that your own healing and freedom is within you reach and you have the power to make it happen. You are in no way responsible for the actions of others, and you are in every way responsible for the actions of yourself. This is accountability, and this is your pathway for healing and moving on.
About the Author
Jennifer Butler is a writer and transformation coach, currently working as a community leader for DivorceForce. Beyond an extensive education, Jennifer also went through a life transformation as a result of her own divorce and has dedicated her work to supporting others. You can connect with Jennifer at JennJoyCoaching and on Instagram.