Hey Bloomers! 🌼 The idea of self-love is often associated with activities and actions that are meant to make you feel good about yourself. Although this is absolutely correct, it’s important to realise that there is also an “ugly” side to self-love, a side that requires you to feel bad before you can feel good. This blog post is focused on one such side: self-love is also about accountability.
Understanding the concepts
In order to gain a full understanding of this discussion, the concepts of self-love as well as accountability will be defined.
According to Psych Central, self-love means that you “accept yourself fully, treat yourself with kindness and respect, and nurture your growth and wellbeing”.
Munyasha Mutsambiwa, who was a guest writer on this blog, also offers a definition of self-love. He states that “self-love implies having a high respect for your own prosperity and bliss”. Powerful.
I would define accountability as accepting responsibility for your actions. It may be easier to be held accountable for your actions by other people because there is no work that you have to put into that. All you have to do is listen and then decide whether or not you are going to accept their advice.
True growth and maturity, however, is reaching a place in your life where you are able to hold yourself accountable for your actions and way of living. There is no one in this world who knows you the way that you know yourself, and there is no one in this world who truly knows what is best for you, more than yourself. However, to reach that place where you start doing things that are beneficial for you and improve your life, you have to go through the uncomfortable steps of holding yourself accountable and calling yourself out for the unacceptable things that you are doing.
The connection between self-love and accountability
If you love yourself, you will hold yourself accountable. It’s always impactful to compare the way you treat yourself to the way you treat the person you love most in the world, so let’s do a small exercise.
Think of the person that you love most in this world. If they were spending their days eating unhealthy food, not drinking enough water, and barely exercising, would you leave them to continue living that way or would you intervene and explain to them that they need to start taking care of themselves more? Probably the latter. You might even go as far as becoming their exercising buddy and asking them every day if they have had enough water, and eaten something nutritious. Because you love them, you want them to be healthy, and are therefore keeping them accountable.
Why, then, are you unable to do the same thing for yourself?
If you are truly a “self-love ambassador” and you claim to love yourself, you need to understand that it doesn’t stop at the cute and fancy stuff like full body massages and getting your nails done. It goes further than that. It extends to spending alone time and calling yourself out for things that you are doing that are detrimental to your well-being.
If you love yourself, you will do what it takes to make sure that you are setting yourself up for happiness and peace. You can’t truly do this without stopping the things that are holding you back. And how is this achieved? Through accountability.
What keeping yourself accountable looks like
I want to start off this section by acknowledging that holding oneself accountable is difficult. If it wasn’t, many people would probably be doing it with ease. Therefore, approach this with kindness. After all, the discussion here is about self-love. Be patient and kind with yourself as you learn to hold yourself accountable. Accountability is not synonymous with meanness and rudeness. You are able to hold yourself accountable in a positive way and in fact, you SHOULD hold yourself accountable in a positive way. While bettering your life, remember the respect.
Having stated this, keeping yourself accountable can look like many things. This is because accountability is relevant in almost every area of one’s life. The intensity will therefore differ depending on which area of your life you are dealing with but the common factor is that you must be willing to put in the work to be better.
One word that can perfectly describe the process of accountability is “uncomfortableness”. You are going to have to be uncomfortable in order to be accountable.
What you are essentially doing is:
- ACCEPTING that your approach or behaviour in a certain area is WRONG
- LEARNING to DEPART from this approach/behaviour
- LEARNING a NEW way of doing things
This is easier for some more than others. There are people who never want to hear that they are wrong, so this will be a mountain for them to climb. But the beauty of it is that if you know that you never want to hear that you are wrong, you have already figured a toxic trait that you have and are already on the path towards holding yourself accountable.
Here are some examples of what holding yourself accountable looks like:
- One person may think, “People are fake. Everyone wants to have a problem with me”. What this person refuses to acknowledge is that because they have a problem in every sort of relationship they enter, be it a friendship, romantic relationship, or business relationship, they might be the one with the issue. After all, they are the common factor. This example shows why holding yourself accountable is difficult. If you were used to living your life with a victim mentality and blaming everyone else for the way events transpire, without assessing what role you had to play in it, it is difficult to make that switch and be accountable to yourself. But not only is this possible, it is absolutely necessary. If you truly love yourself, you desire to have meaningful or at the least peaceful relationships with those around you. And if you are the one standing in between yourself and meaningful relationships, you have to accept that, and change your behaviour accordingly. So instead of thinking “everyone wants to have a problem with me”, this person ought to change their thinking process and instead ask “how can I conduct myself in a manner that will result in meaningful and peaceful relationships with those around me?”. Self-love is also about accountability.
- Another person may think, “Business is really slow right now”. With business, as many other things in life, there are a lot of factors that come into play. Some of these factors are completely out of the control of the business owner. Or in other instances, the owner simply finds them self in unfortunate circumstances. This should be distinguished from a situation where someone who is in a position to change their situation simply says that “business is slow” and accepts that position as well as feels sorry for them self. If you love yourself and want to do better in life, accountability will be essential. Ask questions. Why is business slow? What role am I playing in business being slow? Am I really putting in the work? Am I advertising my services enough? You cannot elevate in life if all you do is feel sorry for yourself and refuse to take accountability. It may hurt at first, but it has to be done. It’s a skill that requires nurturing.
- And here are more examples: Did you really study hard enough for that test? Are you being responsible with your money? Do you value your time? Are you surrounded by people that are motivating your growth?
Self-love is about nurturing your growth and well-being. This is the part that some people choose to ignore. You may need to go through some uncomfortable steps, but it will all be worth it in the end. Self-love is also about accountability. And learning to hold yourself accountable could quite literally be life-changing.
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