Accountability… When one needs to do something, go through a process, achieve a goal or an objective, has a deadline etc. they often need to be accountable to it. Being accountable basically means following through. Human as we are, with inertia at play, we like to be in our permanent state of rest until an external force pushed us. Typically, we will move as far and as fast as this external force. This force could be what motivates you, and it could be intrinsic or extrinsic.
When this motivation is intrinsic, accountability to self is somewhat attainable, well, there is the possibility. We say to ourselves, “I am convinced within myself, and I will do it“. “I will ask myself every day how far I have gone on it and push myself as hard as I can because I need to get to that destination“. When the motivation is extrinsic, depending on what it is, we might still be able to find that push within and accountability to self might still be possible. Often times, when one has degassed due to life and living, we sort of need others to help us be accountable by policing us to do what we set out to do.
This ‘policing’ in itself can be an added extrinsic motivation which thus increases the chances of us being able to achieve what we need to achieve when we need to achieve it. Sometimes, it is confused for influence. Accountability relationships are not about goal setting but rather aiding one to achieve a set goal. It requires brutal honesty from the partner, sometimes hurtful. But one has to know and understand that their accountability partner is merely doing their job, out of love. It need not be reciprocal, though it could be. It need not be for all aspects of life or it could be for a specific and particular goal.
If the accountability partner is not open to critique or does not take feedback well, they break the trust in the relationship. Like in every relationship, though no one is entitled to reciprocity, reciprocity helps to maintain a good balance. Thus, in an accountability relationship as well, once you accept to be an accountability partner, you open yourself up to harsh and honest truths. If this is not taken well, the trust is broken and the relationship fades. You need to be accountable as well!
A good and reliable accountability partner is one who is able to remain objective and is brutally honest. This honesty is sometimes a pain, as some partners are very strict, they do not even allow ‘cheat days’ :). Accountability partners need to recognize the need to be confidential and also that their partner could be vulnerable at various times so they need to be strong enough to help them keep their heads up in their moments of weakness. They need to be open to critique of their processes and make the necessary adjustments to support their partners.
We all need accountability partners in life. Especially now that life has so many moving parts due to technological advancements. We need these partners to help us walk the walk we want to walk and need to walk. We thus need to make ourselves available to become accountability partners for others as well. In opening up to serve others, we need to know that we have exposed ourselves and be ready for feedback. We need to work at being very objective in our accountability roles and not project our own preferences and opinions on our partners to influence their goals. The goal is their domain, and being held to the commitment and the process is your domain.
It is not your place to judge, it is only yours to hold accountable – even when a change is communicated. Like an app that uses a navigator app, a destination is keyed in, and the navigator app gives you a recommended route. Your responsibility is to follow the route. If there is congestion that the app failed to recognize or roadblocks that were not anticipated, you could suggest an alternative route, but never a new destination.
As we walk through life, we need accountability partners. More importantly, we serve as accountability partners to our spouses, children, partners, siblings, friends, associates etc. It is important that we realise what our role is, be responsible for our partners and their needs, and most importantly, be open to feedback about our performance.
May we all be guided along life’s journey.
I have struggled over the years to manage my disappointments well. I have struggled to tell disappointment to “move behind me” and stop blocking my view. I am a pretty sensitive person, so it sits on my presence of self, rather heavily, and it literally hurts. Days that unfortunately start like that are wasted because I am not able to find the excitement to think through anything useful or be productive. Sometimes it lingers on for days and weeks and months! Sometimes years!!!
Like any human being, I have had my fair share of disappointments, fortunately! And they have done to me, what they do to me. A chronic disappointment has even led me into a state of depression and a loss of self in all the madness. Over a period, I did not even have the opportunity to step up and out and then there would be another. These disappointments could range from very little negative statements, which would be like droplets of rain watering my depression or very significant actions or in-actions, which were like hail, some knocking me on the forehead and hitting me with gravity, and sometimes a little extra force, propelling it. Sometimes, this was even further propelled by an engine with some major horsepower. They all just pushed me further down.
For the most part of my adult life, maybe from before I matured, there have been these incidents. What makes it even worse is when the person causing it is actually someone you love. Someone you expect to protect you. Your loudest fan. Your most talented cheerleader. Now, when that happens, there is nowhere to turn and there is no one to even speak to about it because they were your hope. Your god personified.
Negative outlets include affairs (where one is emotionally involved), random sex, alcohol, drugs, excessive partying, aggression, eating excessively etc. All these help to let out negative energy but because they are not actions that you willingly undertook, not your preferred choice of reaction/ outlet, they end up adding to your stresses and pushing you even further down the path you wanted to get off.
Woke up this morning to one such incident. The question might have been innocent but it cut deep and really hurt me. I got out of bed and could not even attend to nature because I had instant constipation. Now, when one does not get help with these challenges in life, they begin to affect the physical. It is thus super essential that one finds an outlet, and does not keep them inside. For sensitive people, it is quite a lot so one has to have a strong and reliable outlet. One has to be intentional about the outlet because it has actually led to the fall of many i.e. if the outlet is not a positive one.
Positive outlets include working out, dancing, meditation, yoga, preparing and eating healthy food, drinking loads of water you have blessed, spending time with positive friends/associate/family, listening to music, etc.. Now, these help you to let out the negative energy and help you onto the path of dealing with your traumas and difficulties. The trick though is that, when you are down, sad, hurt, etc. these are not the thoughts and actions that come to you. One very powerful tool I have been introduced to and love is spending time with myself. It is so simple, yet so powerful.
Find what positive outlets work for you, so that when you are uninspired or disappointed or hurt either by your actions, your inactions, the actions and inactions of others, words spoken to you either directed at you or not, things you see, hear, touch, feel etc. be intentional about your reaction! That is really all you have power over. Train yourself to be able to revert to a positive outlet so that you can learn to push out the negative energy in a positive way. If you do it well enough, the end result will be positive, and you will smile.
If for any reason, you slip and choose a negative outlet, own your reaction. You did it, it is not the fault of the person or the event who caused you the pain. First, own it. Then relive it to extract all the lessons you can from it so you know how to avoid going down that path again. Ultimately, forgive yourself. It is very important that you spend the time and expend the energy to ensure that you forgive yourself and move on.
If someone is hurt by your reaction – be it a negative or a positive reaction/ choice of outlet, do not force them to forgive – they do not owe you forgiveness. They will journey through their uninspired state, their disappointment, their trauma and pain themselves. Allow them space/ time and room to go through it because until they do they cannot fully own their reactions, forgive self and others and move on.
As we journey, may we be guided and led by our ancestors who have walked this path before us. May they help us to bless humankind with our positivity and guide others to more positive outcomes.