Friday, 29 November 2013

Life Lesson | Be Accountable

Have you ever had an argument with a friend during which you've swung from anger to sadness, guilt to outrage, confidence to insecurity, back and forth a million and one times? Only for that argument to be swept under the carpet in the hope of avoiding further upset or the discomfort that can arise when having a frank discussion of your feelings and the feelings of those involved? Ever noticed how these arguments tend to rear their ugly head again months or even years down the line, as if out of nowhere? Unspoken feelings tend to fester. 

Being accountable means spending time figuring out what your real feelings are, behind the anger. It means being honest with yourself. Without honesty you can't apologise sincerely. Without honesty you can't be kind. 

Being accountable means accepting and understanding that everything you do stems from the choices you have made. You always have a choice. 

Being accountable means truly apologising for the hurt you have caused through your words and actions. It means owning and apologising for your part to play, regardless of how the argument started.

Being accountable means having, or at least attempting to have, an honest and open conversation with whoever you have argued with, and it means doing this soon after the argument, before it can be brushed aside or shrugged off. 

Being accountable means listening with love. You owe it to yourself and to whoever you have argued with to really listen, without a hidden agenda.  

Being accountable means keeping an open heart and mind, a willingness to appreciate hindsight and alternative perspectives. 

'He/she started it! Why should I be accountable? They haven't!' Because to be accountable is to be at peace. It's not about feeling forced to claim sole responsibility for a situation or 'admitting' things are all your fault, as everyone has their part to play and life is more complex than that. But you can't reach a place of inner peace, understanding and love, or understand and love a friend if you refuse to really dig down deep and get to grips with the emotional roller-coaster you've experienced, and take responsibility for the part you've played.

Acknowledging and articulating your feelings may be frightening and uncomfortable at times but it enables an understanding of why you acted or reacted the way you did. You know the saying 'knowledge is power?' Self knowledge really is self power. When you're willing to try to understand your feelings you're far better able to accept responsibility for your words and behaviours, your moods and emotions. You're no longer at risk of playing the perpetual victim. 

You own your shit. 

You're far better able to listen and listen properly. I know, I know... It isn't always easy to be accountable! I struggle with it and it's difficult when you're wrapped up in what the other people involved have said or done instead of focusing on your own part to play. I find that questioning myself, asking myself how I really feel, leads to a tentative understanding of my true feelings. What is my anger masking? What's really at the heart of the matter for me? 

Once I've started asking questions and demanding answers from myself, there's a far better chance I'll be able to understand myself, explain myself, own my shit and apologise from the heart. There's a far better chance I'll be able to listen properly and understand where other people are coming from. Brushing your feelings or the feelings of others aside constitutes a false apology. You want and need to develop an apology rooted in truth. 

Once you've had that conversation with yourself, you can instigate or participate in a proper conversation with the person or people you've argued with, aiming at really listening to each other and understanding and respecting each other's true feelings. They might refuse to engage, and that's their choice; but even so, through the process of being accountable you will start to feel far more at peace than if you agree to brush a situation aside and hold on to anger out of fear of momentary discomfort. It's better to at least try. 

Don't let things fester. 

Own your shit, be accountable, be at peace. 

Baci e abbracci, 

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