“’Love is never having to say you’re sorry,’ is a ridiculous saying. Repairing the hurt you’ve contributed to or caused is one of the most courageous and loving acts you can do. Own your actions, apologize for any harm as a result, and repair the damage.” ~LMB
Humanity is imperfect. You are imperfect. There will be countless mistakes throughout your life that you will make. Some will be intentional, and some will not. Many of your behaviors over the years will result in others being upset with you, and some will cause others pain. If the pain caused is unintentional, you are still responsible for your actions.
Because making mistakes is part of the human condition, an essential skill necessary for creating radically connected relationships is accountability. Far too few people have this skill. Your ability to non-defensively take responsibility for your mistakes is a game-changer in relationships. Being accountable consists of:
- Fully owning your actions without blame, defensiveness, or justification.
- Genuinely apologizing for the impact of your behavior on the other person.
- Repairing the damage that your actions or lack of actions caused.
Being accountable is not weak. Admitting you made a mistake does not make you a bad person. And repairing the damage is not overkill—it’s the right thing to do. Your actions have consequences, as do the ones of those around you. Tune into how your behavior is impacting people. Put yourself in their shoes when they’re upset about something you did. Don’t talk about why you did it, or how others have done the same thing, or how it wasn’t that big a deal. Listen to their upset and do whatever you can to heal the damage. Don’t blame others for causing you to do what you did. No one makes you do anything. If your actions are hurtful, don’t find a way to justify them. There is no justification for being hurtful.
Challenge: Master accountability. Own your mistakes head-on by fully taking responsibility for what you did. Don’t justify, rationalize, or defend them for any reason. And always repair any damage done. Hold others accountable to do the same.
Notice the shift this one skill has on your relationships, and be damn proud of yourself when you’re able to show up fully accountable.