Taking accountability is the most empowering thing you can do in your relationship. Fierce accountability is taking the brave step of owning your part of negative interactions. When you focus on contributing to problems in your relationship, you become empowered to create positive shifts. When you realize and admit your part in the dysfunction, you take your power back.
You say, “I can do this differently. I can positively influence our dynamic.”
There are countless opportunities to practice accountability. Maybe you left a mess in the kitchen, and your partner had to clean it up. You can take responsibility by saying,
“I’m sorry I left that mess in the kitchen. I appreciate you for taking the initiative to clean it. I want you to feel supported.”
In this example, you acknowledged your shortcoming, credited your partner, and committed to a positive change. Simple yet powerful.
Another way to take accountability is to recognize when you are triggered or emotionally activated. By noticing your automatic response triggered by an external event, you gain the opportunity to help your partner understand you better.
For example, your partner didn’t stop and hug you goodbye this morning. You stewed all day, stuck in patterns of thought about how your partner doesn’t give you the love you deserve. When you return home, you snap at your partner about a seemingly innocuous exchange at the dinner table, and your partner is confused because your reaction seemed out of proportion to your interaction.
Later, you reflected and realized that when your partner did not hug you goodbye, it reminded you of a dynamic from your past. When you were a child, your dad frequently went away for business trips without telling you goodbye, and you yearned for his attention and presence.
You felt like you didn’t matter. Like you were unimportant.
Fast forward to your adult relationship, and you realize that there are dynamics in your relationship that trigger these same feelings.
Accountability in this instance is circling back to your partner and saying,
“I know that you were just in a rush this morning. You didn’t mean to hurt me. But, you not hugging me reminded me of when my dad would go out of town without saying goodbye. You are not my dad, and I know that. Feelings of not mattering and not being important came up. I’m sorry that I exploded on you. Next time I’m going to try to tell you what I feel so that you understand.”
If you feel like you’ve been giving away your power by blaming others, maybe it’s time you practice accountability. Accountability helps you gain insight into yourself and communicate realizations to your partner in a healthy way. Like many relationship skills, it takes practice. A practice that contributes to a happy, healthy, and loving relationship.