Accountability is fundamental in healthy relationships, and is grounded on the idea that there is more than one person in a relationship - where one person ends, another begins.
Accountability requires a sense of self-worth, a recognition that a person is both independent from others and also in relationship with others. When accountability is present, there is a strong foundation for all of the other components of a healthy relationship.
Accountability is about owning what is yours…
- Examining how your communications may have been harmful or damaging to another person
- Taking the blame, when it is yours to take. This is different from taking or accepting the blame for others' behavior (and even their emotions).
- Accountability means avoiding excuses or claiming something that went wrong was accidental
- Seeing how your actions contribute to conflicts and challenges in relationships or even escalate issues to a higher level
- Recognizing how your beliefs and actions are directly linked to what is happening in your world, including academics and career path
Over or under accountability may indicate there is something going on for your friends, family, colleagues, or partner either personally or within the dynamics of the relationship.
Over accountability, for instance, may be an indication that one person is trying to avoid conflict or is concerned about the consequences from speaking their truth and standing by it.
Someone who presents as under accountable may be displaying a lack of self-awareness, a sense of entitlement, or engaging in gaslighting behavior as they point the finger at someone other than themselves.
Hint: People who are truly accountable for their actions are much more likely to demonstrate a willingness and capacity to learn from missteps and make changes, if that is what is needed.
See the One Love Foundation’s resource for information and tips on how to be accountable in a relationship.
Additionally, Tamara Thompson, LMFT offers guidance on accountability for couples.