Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared my thoughts on vulnerability and honesty; two necessary ingredients to any successful relationship. But when we bring the two to the center of our relationships, the synergy creates the opportunity for something terrifying and beautiful to happen. Accountability.
We never arrive! No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we study, no matter how hard we train, there is always a better version of ourselves out there waiting for us.
We never arrive! And the second we think we have, we’ve failed! A better version of us becomes more distant and if we continue to swallow the lie that we have arrived, that better version will elude us forever.
When honesty and vulnerability are pursued in a relationship, they allow something beautiful to thrive. Something that keeps each of us from thinking we've arrived, something that lets us discover the better version of ourselves waiting beyond each new experience. The better version our friends deserve, the better version our spouse deserves, the better version our children deserve. That something beautiful is accountability.
But let’s face it, embracing accountability is scary. Embracing accountability means we have to face that we might be fallible, it means we might be wrong, it means we might not have things figured out, it means we might not be perfect. Let’s get this out there right now! All of us are fallible, all of us are wrong at times, none of us have things figured out all the time, and none of us are perfect! But to make matters more terrifying, being accountable means letting others know all about the dark, yucky stuff… the dirt. It means letting others see the deepest struggles we face and being okay with them calling us out on the behaviors that make us less than we can be; the behaviors keeping us from attaining a better version of ourselves. Accountability is taking vulnerability to a whole new level.
There are many reason’s people live on the surface level, never really sharing all they are; never being vulnerable and honest, let alone accountable. And if we are “honest” with ourselves, we all have been there at some point. Walking through life wearing masks, hoping no one sees through them. Pretending we have arrived but knowing deep down we are slaves to identities built on lies, omissions of truth and secrets. Who wants to live like that?
Accountability can be completely and utterly freeing. Pursuing relationships with honesty and vulnerability bring the human connections we possess to appoint where others know all of us. When we give those same people, the people who love us in spite of us, permission to hold us accountable for our thoughts and actions; our addictions and secrets have less power. Rather than being slaves to our weaknesses, we begin to break free from them. This doesn’t mean we never fail or never fall back into old habits, but it does mean we have people who will pick us up and recalibrate our compasses so we can get back on course, so we can get back on the path to a better version of who we are. Rather than being concerned with whether or not someone can see behind the masks we wear, our focus begins to shift toward who we can become.