By Sheila Heylin
To me accountability equals freedom. Freedom from letting others and situations run your day and even your life.
In the first accountability video I shared a very personal account of an abusive relationship I was in. I don’t think that I made clear the fact that I wasn’t blaming myself for his actions. Sometimes we think accountability and blame are synonymous. They are NOT.
I also mentioned, in the video, that I let it happen. Technically that’s true, I just didn’t know that at the time. It is still not blame. The obvious truth is that anything that happens to us… we let happen. Most of us don’t look at it that way. Mainly because it’s hard and sometimes painful. Even so… it’s a very powerful and freeing realization.
It doesn’t mean we “choose” it consciously. Who would “choose” to be abused? Who would “choose” to let negative and challenging people and events happen in their lives? No one! No one would consciously choose that!
What I’m saying is something in me stayed in that circumstance. It served me in some way consciously or unconsciously. It stopped when it didn’t serve me anymore. In other words… when I had had enough. When I was ready to go on and take myself back.
This is where the freedom comes in– when I took full accountability for my situation is when I started to heal and more importantly, when I got my power back. I felt free and strong for the first time. No one could make a victim out of me except for me. Sitting and blaming him or myself kept me stuck. I came to the realization that I allowed him to slowly take me away. To be honest, I didn’t know it was happening (losing myself) until it turned physical. That’s the point where judgement comes in asking how weak, needy, etc., can you be?
We all give (on different levels and intensity) our power away all the time, whether it’s to a difficult parent, sibling, boss, etc., losing our cool in simple everyday situations. You just gave it away. Anytime you feel insecure or less than, those are the tiny clues to help shine the light on where we need to put our attention within ourselves and take a good look.
We can work on accountability by being aware of the little things that happen in our day. People or situations that bring us joy, rub us the wrong way or even better, the feeling of being nonplussed. These are treasures that help you see where you are at… Keep clear what you focus on, and it will bring it all to light. Here are a couple of examples: are you being accountable for your mood, good or bad? Are you being accountable for what kind of energy you bring into the room? Breaking old habits when dealing with and reacting to the people and loved ones in our lives… that’s being accountable. It’s very empowering knowing that you are not just a walking circumstance.
When hard circumstances do hit, we are forced into dealing with them. The daily practice of this helps ground you so you can deal with it from a different place. It’s like anything, the more you practice the more you’re prepared, and hopefully the more it becomes second nature.
So keep it consistent and light. We are all a work in progress and this is just another tool in the toolbox that’s available to help us along the way.
Let us know how this is working for you. We want to hear from you.
About the Author: Sheila Heylin, the knowledgeable host of Happiness Series, lives in Chicago and Los Angeles. It was in LA where Sheila discovered healthy living. She realized that “what you’re not used to and what you hate are two different things.” She and Tania partnered to create Happiness Series and build an online and offline community that fosters wellness and happiness.