Recently, I heard myself say, “I didn’t intend to…” From my self-protective, bubble of limited awareness persona point of view, this statement makes sense. This deflection, however, resists acceptance of accountability. I don’t question my defense because that would expose something I’m hiding on purpose. What am I hiding? My fear of culpability!
Why do I fear my accountability?
What Can I Do to Reclaim My Accountability?
“I didn’t” and “I’m not” (negations) often offer me an easy indicator of defense. Whenever I hear a negation (n’t, not, never, no, etc.) come out of my mouth, I can assume I’m in defense. Whenever I hear you say those words, and feel your defense, I can assume I’m in defense, too. Defense is defense no matter who shows it because it is I who perceives it. Defense is just an indicator, and so…
Rather than shoot the messenger, my mirror, I can pay attention to the message. Once aware, I’m in a position to accept accountability. To soften my defense, I can use my language to remove the negation out of a defensive statement. Then I have something to work with. “I didn’t intend to…” becomes, “If I did [intend that]…” Then, inquiries into hidden intentions can arise.
The following self-inquiry questions can perhaps lead to self-awareness and acceptance of accountability. Referring to our example above, “I didn’t intend to…” Once I calm my protective persona’s defensive posturing, I realize it’s just an indicator, a message to myself about my unconscious intention to survive.
I can then question that intention by inquiring about how I feel concerning the message. Based on that feedback, I might ask myself, “If I did intend to [do that]…,
- Who did I believe I was to intend the outcome I observed?”
- Why did I intend that outcome?”
- How do I feel now about what happened then?”
- What do I intend now?”
This inquiry starts a process of acceptance of accountability for my creation. Evidence of acceptance:
- I would hear few or no negations in my communications.
- I would hear connecting questions like, “How can I help us reconnect]…?” and “What do you need [for the relationship to reconnect]?” and etc.
- The other person would report feeling cared about.
- My body and mind would calm down.
- A sense of profound joy in connection.