I have a story.
Once upon a time, I had a super obnoxious friend. She was one of those people who just had to be right all the time. Oh, she was unpleasant, like a stomachache and a hurricane personified—downright awful and hard to ignore. Not to mention you could hear her coming from a mile away.
One day, I mentally put my hands up in defiance. It was a momentous occasion, dear reader. You see, I finally mustered up the courage to confront her.
Hair for dramatic flair? Check. Courage? Ehhhh, we’ll get there.
The moment was right.
So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and asked, “Why are you like this?” to the pair of eyes in the mirror.
Choices are made every day, from the small Will-I-Fry-My-Eggs-Today to the monumental What-Am-I-Going-To-Do-With-My-Life. Yes, even not choosing is a choice. These decisions each lay down a stone in our path. The sooner we realize that no one else on the face of the planet is going to live our lives for us, the more we’ll value every decision we make.
A lot of people ask me how I do it—how I’m so cheerful and rarely stressed out. I would answer with a laugh and try to change the subject because how could I tell them that most of the time, the reason why we’re angry, stressed out, and tired is because of us.
Today, I’ll do my best to give you a proper answer.
Self-accountability is knowing that we, not the cashier who had an attitude or the McDonald’s guy who got our order wrong, we are responsible for our actions and reactions, our choices, our decisions, and our emotions.
You might strongly disagree with me right now, and I understand this might not be for you.
But if you’re tired of the anger and the exhaustion. If you want to swap your stress for something more productive and less draining. If you found that this article spoke to you in some way. Then please, by all means, stay.
You’re still reading this, so I know how much you’re willing to practice self-accountability. Good. This is step one.
You need to be willing and open to hold yourself accountable.
First and foremost, you are responsible for how you go through life, doing what you do and feeling what you feel.
Willingness is crucial, but it is only the first step. You hold the keys. But to open the door, you need to turn the knob. Action.
If you’re pissed because someone stepped on your new white Chuck Taylors, what are you going to do after the fact? Are you going to spend an hour, or worse, an entire day feeling upset? I hope not.
There’s no use crying over spilled milk.
Self-accountability is a powerful skill.
It is a skill because you can learn and eventually master the art.
My dad used to tell me, “Pay now and play later, or Play now and pay later.” To add a bit of context, I was on my way to Uni. Basically, it was a discreet warning that if I partied all night and failed my finals, I was going to pay for it.
But I also learned one other valuable lesson—think big. See the bigger picture.
Be able to go beyond what’s here and now and project yourself into the future. How will this choice affect your life?
Going back a couple of years, I acted the way I did because I told myself there was nothing I could do. That I, along with every other human being, were merely pawns—cursed to drag our feet in the mud, shackled by our emotions, ugly memories, trauma, and wrapped in the overall misery of our fates.
Not only is that untrue. It’s preposterous. My faith has been more than instrumental in helping me see the truth.
It’s never too late to change your self-story.
Before you stand a thousand unborn tomorrows, how are you going to spend today? More importantly, what external forces are you going to let inside?
Something I learned from people is this—there’s usually more to that person than meets the eye. You are more capable than you think.
The path is long, dear reader, and that is something we can be grateful for. A new day marks a new beginning. Cliché as that may sound, it is the seat of hope. You know it. I know it.
We can choose to live it.
If you fail today, try again tomorrow.