Being accountable is about taking action towards your ability to respond (response-ability). I think we have all been there, in the heat of the moment we say or do something that we feel cannot be taken back. Swallowing your pride can be really difficult as can losing a friendship. On a deeper level our relationships serve as a "mirror" for personal growth. We continue to react to that mirror until we own what we are seeing in the mirror.
Truly looking in the mirror, is about being accountable for our actions. Taking time for a situation to settle is important. A suggestion is either sleeping on it or letting the situation settle for 24 hours. If the situation won't let you sleep, then take some time to journal on each way of being accountable below.
"Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally." ~ Eckhart Tolle
5 Ways to Be Accountable in Conflict
Your Words ~ The words we choose to speak have power. In our relationships, consciously or unconsciously we know which words to use for our advantage. Think of the words that you used during your conversation. Were they respectful? Were they nice? To be accountable for your words you may say something like; "I said some not nice things to you" or "The words I used were mean and hurtful".
Your Reaction ~ To react to a person our situation can be to (re-act) something from our past. This reaction can be emotional, intense, unexpected and have a lot of energy behind it. Reflect on the interaction. Did you react? How did you react? When being accountable for our reaction we may say something like; "I had quite the reaction yesterday during our conversation" or "My reaction when we talked was unexpected".
Your Tone ~ Tone is the way that we say something and can be soft or harsh and can reveal our actual emotions. Look back to the conversation. What was your tone? What was the underlying emotion as you spoke? Accountability might sound like; "I had quite the tone in my voice as we spoke yesterday" or "I was angry yesterday and that came out in my tone of voice".
Your Feelings ~ Our feelings are a natural response to what is happening in our environment. In conflict, past hurts can instantly be brought into the present. Dogs growl when they are scared, which is a natural response to stimulus. What feelings were stirred during the conflict? Where in your body did you feel the experience? You may share your feelings by saying; "I had some unexpected feelings that came to the surface yesterday" or "I became quite frustrated during our exchange".
Your Impact ~ Impact is the aftermath or energy left behind from conflict. Think of a quiet lake after you jump in. Your impact sends ripples of energy throughout the body of water. What was your impact in the conflict? What energy did you leave behind? You may bring awareness to your impact by saying. "I must have really upset you yesterday with my intense reaction" or "I really impacted everyone yesterday when I...."
You don't need to take action on all 5, simply use the ones that bring awareness to you and your role in the conflict. Taking responsibility is the first step to becoming aware of what you contribute to communication and conflict. If you want to experience different results in your relationships the best place to look is at yourself.