From infancy we're taught that we need to be accountable for our actions. If we hurt someone, we should apologize; if we take something that isn’t ours, we should give it back.
As we mature, holding others accountable for their words and actions enables us to live with purpose and integrity.
But what happens when those in our lives struggle with being held accountable for their actions?
Here are 3 reasons why it is more than OK to hold others accountable:
1. Their word is their bond.
A study on accountability found that when people know that they are being held accountable for their words they exhibit greater complexity of thought and actions. With clear limits in place they had to explain their motivations in greater depth and were more likely to be bound by their word.
It’s crucial to be impeccable with our words and actions and to expect this from others. If their word is not their bond, your trust in them will waiver. If a spouse or friend doesn't follow through, whether it's not being there for you when you really need them, or never making it on time to pick up the kids, it's OK to hold them accountable. Let them know how it's affecting you and ask for some long overdue changes.
2. Your expectations matter.
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Who are the members that support you on this journey of life? Are you strengthening your connections to those you love and care for by setting clear expectations of them?
Your expectations in relationships, friendships and work dynamics matter. Graciously hold the people in your life accountable for how their actions affect you. If you have respectfully asked a certain family member, for example, to stop speaking poorly about your wife, it is both justified and necessary to hold them accountable for their words. Tell them what you need, how their words affect your family and that you would love to be a part of their life only when your expectation for basic respect has been met.
3. You love yourself and honor your limits.
Studies have found that improved self efficacy results from knowing our limits and expectations for ourselves and others. The more we hold others accountable for how they treat us, the better our self esteem.
Holding others accountable means that you take a hard and honest look at your relationships. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with setting firm expectations; it is very common to fear losing those close to you as you try to protect your own heart. Expecting those we care for to follow through for us cements authentic connection. Start holding those in your circle accountable to mean what they say and say what they mean and experience a better sense of your own power.
T.D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinking, entrepreneur and compassion humanitarian with a voice that has reverberated from the world's most prominent stages. His look at life comes from the perspective of a father, a student, a pastor and a friend. His daytime talk show will be premiering this fall across the nation. Follow @tdjakesshow on Twitter!