Over the Next Five Years, More Will Choose Personal Accountability over Authority
Most of us have been raised to trust authority figures—whether it’s a parent, a teacher, a religious leader, a politician or a boss—before ourselves. We’ve been conditioned by society that someone outside ourselves is trustworthy. And life has shown many of us that it is not always wise to follow this instruction. Taking accountability means recognizing that not everyone is healthy for us. Not everyone can know what’s right for us, even with the best of intentions.
In a world where most of us have been conditioned to be positive and polite, it is not surprising that we tend to look away from anything unpleasant, hoping it will simply go away or resolve itself. Anyone who has had ants infest their home knows that their presence will only grow when left unaddressed. Being positive is not always the answer when we are dealing with difficult situations. There is a physical reality that needs to be addressed.
In the movie Network, the main character, Howard Beale, had enough of the corruption, injustice and unfairness of the world, and encourages people to open their windows and scream at the top of their lungs, ““I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take it anymore!” His cry is not to protest or be outraged but to start taking responsibility and accountability for making life changes. Blaming and pointing fingers rarely changes anything.
Taking Responsibility Starts with Saying, Enough
There are many shifts I will address in future posts about navigating the road ahead. The first one is the intersection we are on is understanding that we created authority and control, which is deeply entrenched and out of control in the current world. We are not here to fight it or bring it down. We are here to create something new and healthy in the world. Something that only starts when we start trusting ourselves and step into our power.
From a very young age, we have been taught to listen and that there’s someone in control who helps us understand the difference between right and wrong. We are constantly told whether we are good or bad boys and girls. And not to embarrass ourselves and feel ashamed, we learn what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in social environments. No one wants to be shamed or feel embarrassed. There is a way to eat, to dress, to play, to learn, to have friends, to behave and so the story goes depending on your social status and environment. Almost eighty percent of what is being taught in our schools today is unhelpful and keeps us in servitude as obedient students who become obedient and loyal citizens who fight till our deaths for our beliefs.
Even our social media platforms tell us that to feel important and validated, we must have many friends and followers, and be liked. In this story, it is always someone outside ourselves that has authority over us and validates us. When we don’t comply or follow the accepted norms, we may feel like outsiders and we may be cast out from center stage.
Who Are You Accountable To?
On the road of shifting from giving away your power to outside forces to taking accountability, you will embark on an adventure of a lifetime that requires deep personal exploration. Novelist Herman Hesse guides us, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is the letting go.” Self-care is tending to your own evolution and requires personal responsibility. And the secret lies in questioning and not automatically trusting everyone just because they have a tick mark next to their name on Twitter or zillions of dollars.
Imagine that each of us, at our own pace, becomes less tolerant of toxic and abusive people, for example. As we increasingly step into our power we will no longer accept stories of villains and victims. Because we can end and start healthy stories where we take responsibility for our own actions.
Our individual and collective fog will lift when we trust ourselves, begin to make healthy choices and practice discernment. When we make choices that bring us joy, instead of being expected to be positive and masking our emotions, we will trek into unknown territory, and that’s perfectly okay.
Choosing to Open Doors
When asked whether a glass is half empty or half full, we often forget to acknowledge that it does not change the amount of water that is in the actual glass. We learn that we are positive and optimistic, people if we believe it to be half full, and negative and pessimistic if we see its emptiness.
When you are in the driver seat of your life, you get to navigate. You can stay with the problems and challenges of life, or close doors that lead nowhere and open ones that bring opportunities. Letting go of what no longer matters or that is out of your control to change will actually help you see that the chaos and conflict in the world is not yours to solve on your own. You can be swept away with the mainstream noise or start seeing with your heart and gut what is truly possible. Every choice you make matters.
Here are some questions that have helped me navigate and take accountability, and please add and share your own as it is different for each of us:
- What makes my heart sing?
- What does taking responsibility mean to me?
- Who do I truly trust with my life? And, why are they trustworthy?
- How can I stay out of fear, anger, blame and judgment?
- How can I pay more attention to my needs, and less on what others are telling me I need?
- What is my biggest opportunity at this moment?