How accountability is key

Okay so how has six months of the year gone by so quickly? It’s scary how fast the days pass you by. But nevertheless it’s been half a year of journeying with patients and simultaneously working on myself.

Accountability is the word that comes to mind when I think about what is necessary for growth; what is necessary to actually progress and make sure that time has been used effectively. You’re aware of the saying ‘give it time’. Well, giving it time doesn’t entail sitting passively, it implies actively working through whatever has come about, which is a process that takes time.

For my patients I have observed many of them make huge leaps in their mental-health journey. And some who have been slow in their progress, or some who seem to have made very little progress at all.

Of course, everyone is on a different journey and has had different experiences that have lead them to seeking help. And for that reason it is difficult to make direct comparisons of their journeys. But it has been an observation that has stood out quite clearly to me because of my own personal journey, that the key factor in whether one makes progress is whether the person is accountable or not.

The idea of accountability is pretty simple right? It just means that you take responsibility for your actions. You are the one who needs to put in the work. And here’s a corny one: you are the author of your next chapters.

It’s really not that hard to conceptualise, but in reality it is difficult. I think that comes down to a few reasons but the main one I’ve observed is: trauma. How much trauma someone has had to endure in their lives; because how can you take responsibility for your actions when you are in this situation because of something that was done to you without you asking for it? Being a victim of circumstance is not fair. And therefore reaching a point where one has accepted the past in order to move on is usually a life long process in itself.

Nevertheless, we can’t make much progress if we don’t take it upon ourselves. It doesn’t matter how much therapy you get, how often you visit your doctor, how many self-help books you read, or how many inspirational quotes you save, if you don’t actually use any of that to enact change in your life then you shouldn’t expect any change to occur.

For my own journey I have realised that I haven’t been accountable. I have made excuses, blamed other people, all the while thinking that I am self-aware. But you know what I realised? Everyone thinks they’re self-aware. And at the end of the day you can blame others for your past and for getting you in the situation that you’re in- that’s fine, and that’s fair. But ask yourself: what are you going to do about the present or the future? You can’t change the past but you can change how that affects your here and now. If you continue to let people from your past occupy your present, you have to realise that it doesn’t affect them at all. The only person that affects is you, leaving you stagnant while the rest of the world moves on.

That may be an oversimplification of reality but I hope you get the point. At the end of the day, no matter how much you have been through, and how much others are responsible for what’s happened to you in the past, you are the one who is responsible for your future.

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