Why Is This Skill Important?

Accountability is the skill that every relationship has to have in order to thrive. It’s not enough for just one partner to be able to take ownership of the things that they inadvertently do that hurt the other partner. Both people in any relationship really have to be able to take accountability. Now, accountability requires taking ownership when we’ve accidentally done something wrong, hurt someone else, or let someone down. It entails being responsive to your partner’s needs. Responsive means that when your partner tells you for the 17th time, “You know it really doesn’t work for me when you yell at me like that,” in order to take accountability we have to own it and figure out how to do it differently. We have to respond to their request that we do something differently and that we shift it. However, here’s the challenge and why more people don’t take accountability. It requires a lot of confidence and belief in yourself as a good partner in order to take ownership.

Confidence is Key

The same thing happens at work. Let’s say you know you’re amazing at your job and you can easily identify 17 things that you know you’re good at in your career. From that place of confidence and security, when you mess up you can say “Yeah you know what, these other 3 things over here I totally dropped the ball on that and I can own it and can and will do better.” This requires that confidence in yourself in order to take ownership at the things you’re not so awesome at. That’s the same way it works in relationships. You have to have a good baseline level of confidence in yourself as a boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife what ever it is, in order to say “Actually, you know what you’re right, I do kind of suck at these 3 things and I’m going to do something about it.” Confidence is a prerequisite for taking accountability. However, please don’t ever shortchange the power of saying to your partner, “I’m sorry,” or “I messed that up,” or “I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do it yet, but I am going to figure out how to do better.” When we really take ownership and then shift into action to improve things, it does a tremendous amount to nourish and heal any relationship.

Couples Counseling