“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
My husband often jokes about a flowchart he has seen. Below, I have crudely recreated a pared down version.
This flowchart provides the way to avoid any and all responsibility. It is a funny joke, but for some it is their way of life.
Some people are so afraid of the repercussions of accountability they try to hide the truth. If you look at celebrities, professional athletes, and politicians, examples abound about individuals not taking responsibility for the actions they take. Instead of owning up to the truth, many of these individuals are mired in lies and deception. In our personal lives, I am sure we can name those around us who do not take responsibility for their lives and instead play the victim of circumstances.
Power in Responsibility
What these people do not realize is there is a power in responsibility. When we own up to what we have done wrong or right, we are stepping fully into ourselves. When we hide who we are, we lose our own power. When we learn to accept ourselves and take responsibility for our actions, we unleash our own power.
For many, accountability is viewed as a four-letter word. It is something our bosses expect of us. We are being held accountable to the standards and expectations created by others. Accountability is a chance for attack. Accountability is a reason to be less. Accountability is a position of submission. Accountability stifles our freedom. Viewing accountability this way places our power in someone else’s hands. If we let others hold us accountable, we give up our power. We make ourselves subservient or a victim of these expectations. Instead, I encourage us all to take Personal Responsibility.
Personal Responsibility means defining what you view as right action then holding yourself to come as close as possible to that action. Personal Responsibility means making ourselves judge and juror. We set up the rules and ethics of our lives then we hold ourselves accountable to how well we uphold the guidelines we created. We are the ones who create the goals and intentions for our lives and how they are lead.
When we fall short of our goals, it is important to judge our actions and not ourselves. One of the reasons people shy away from accountability - their own or imposed - is because they assume failing is an attack on our worth. Failing only means our actions fell short. Our value and worth remain whole no matter our actions.
I encourage you to create your own standards of accountability and then do your best to uphold them. And if you do fall short, know that it is a chance to improve your actions.
Question: What are your standards of accountability?
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