Taking complete ownership of yourself and your actions is critical in forming deep, meaningful and healthy relationships with others. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your role in the relationship and how you choose to behave. When you take ownership of yourself, you are deciding not to play the blame game or play the victim. It’s taking an active role in creating a place of honesty, integrity, vulnerability and safety in the relationship. It isn’t enough for one person to take accountability – both partners have to be willing to do so for their relationship to thrive.
What does taking accountability look like?
Accountability means taking responsibility when you have accidentally done something wrong, hurt someone else, or let someone down. It’s apologizing for it, but also making a commitment to change the behavior. It’s hearing and seeing your partner and responding to their needs. It’s giving them compassion and empathy. Being accountable also means being honest and transparent with your partner. It is being open and vulnerable about your feelings, even when you feel sacred or when you have to have a difficult conversation.
When choosing ownership, you also have to be able to clearly see what is and isn’t your responsibility.
Don’t accept responsibility or blame for something that is truly not yours to carry. This is where you’ll see many unhealthy relationships with an imbalanced dynamic. One partner doesn’t take enough responsibility for themselves, whereas the other takes on too much responsibility that isn’t even theirs. I have a disposition to occasionally take on other people’s responsibility in relationships, so I have to be mindful of it and challenge myself at times. I literally ask myself if a friend told me that she was really responsible for X (and X is something that is clearly not her responsibility), what would I say to her?
Are you accountable in your relationships? Do you have a toxic behavior that you need to change? If so, what can you start doing today to change it?