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Taking Accountability for Your Actions: Why Does This Seem so Hard

Updated on June 28, 2014

Accountability – What Does It All Mean?

A term easily said, yet one not easily followed. Being accountable for one’s actions is becoming increasingly difficult in a society that continues to blur the lines of morality.


The Ego Strings Pulled When Admitting Wrong Doing

Power and strength is associated with doing ‘what is right,’ however when admitting to wrong doing a sense of inadequacy is triggered and one may feel a sense of defeat. Recognizing that shortcomings are a infliction of being human can provide some relief to those that struggle with admitting flaws. Insecurity fuels one’s inability to disclose when and how they are human. Not to mention how pride adds to the equation. Being prideful may lead one to never expose their insecurities.

Feeling important and liked by others are enjoyed by all but what happens when someone takes it over the top with their self-inflated views. Not able to see the true self, a person with a falsely perceived self is more likely to live in denial, as their fragile egos cannot manage being flawed in any form of the word. Mistakes and ‘human moments’ then become unbearable for a narcissistic person and thereby will commonly begin pointing fingers to avoid taking responsibility. As a result, objective thinking is thrown out the window and acceptance is nowhere in sight.

Gaining Respect

One that is reliable in taking responsibly for their actions gains bounds of respect. Being able to show human qualities when things don’t go as hoped will show those around your word is trustworthy. Accepting that things will not always go as planned is a quality of life. Taking responsibility and moving on helps to build character.

Psychological Factors Linked to Lack of Responsibility

Avoiding denial and taking accountability is frequently an ingrained trait from childhood. Parents that did not accept any wrongdoing from their children and did not allow them to explore unconsciously instilled the fear of being wrong. Those children, even when caught doing something wrong refused to accept responsibility. Well fast forward that to adulthood – it is the same concept but with more practice. So learning about early childhood maladaptive behaviors can take time to identify and change. Being open to the concept is essential in making lifelong change.

The Price You Pay for Not Being Responsible

Harmony is disrupted when one is unable to take charge of their behaviors. Denying the human quality of self leads to a misperceived persona of superiority. Though that is just a facade and will be challenged sooner-or-later. The outward projection of sureness and security that results from denial becomes the hard shell that protects the overwhelming and fragile ego on the inside.

By imposing the false standards that guide the mislead individual helps to ignite a sense of irritability, demands on others, and overt criticalness that makes one difficult to be around. The false self becomes the destruction of the person and the unrealistic views of self and others will become the destruction of relationships.

Living on the pretenses of the false self allows one to reinforce faulty behaviors such as being irresponsible, a quitter, reliant on others, disturbed, unhappy, hopeless, angry, irrational and defiant. I am not sure about you but the aforementioned qualities are not something I would be proud to repeat as a personal attribute.

What Triggers Denial?

Coming this far is certainly a contribution to your own desire to change. At some point one will recognize that change is needed. But the question may be how? Below will describe how a generally honest person develops difficulty accepting responsibility for mistakes. At one time or another everyone can likely recall how hard it was to accept doing wrong. Here are some contributing concepts:

1. Feeling insecure – There are some folks who may have been raised in a very chaotic environment where they were constantly put down, yelled at, or emotionally abused. Some grew up in an underprivileged environment, thereby felt inferior to others more privileged. Maybe it was a person who didn't receive much attention, positive reinforcement, or recognition growing up, and always feeling overlooked. Those encounters could support a lack of confidence in one’s own ability resulting in low self-esteem.

2. Arrogance – People develop arrogance for several reasons but none-the-less very annoying. Commonly the outward display of confidence protects the person against their extreme insecurity. Acting superior to others ward of the danger of their self-doubt being exposed. No matter how it was created, arrogance leads one to overlook their part in any interpersonal communication.

3. Prejudices – People who commonly experience racial discrimination, intolerance, or narrow-mindedness frequently find themselves on edge. Feeling unable to gain appropriate recognition may guide the person to hold the perception that progression is impossible. These perceptions may trigger the person to feel insecure and unable to take accountability for the fear of further discrimination.

Those are only a few reasons why some may live in denial. If any of those resonated, first off you are not a bad person, again just a human being. Working to identify specifics as it pertains to you is the first step.

Can you easily take responsibility when making a mistake?

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Change Is A Choice

In the beginning taking responsibility may not feel good as one may still be trying to deal with the emotionally protective aspect of denial. However, eventually it will become a rewarding personal trait when others can express how they were affected by your honesty. Deciding to be accountable is a freeing moment as those defenses come up like a tall brick wall will no longer be needed. Don’t forget to practice as it become easier when done more often.

Important Steps When Taking Accountability

· First realize blaming others for your choices is unfair business.

· Making mistakes equal human behavior; admitting to your errors will earn respect.

· Pretending to be some one you are not confirms low self-esteem; work on increasing your self-esteem and perception.

· No need to feel sorry for yourself or inferior.

· Build self-confidence hence defusing the desire to become defensive when you make a mistake.

· Do away with self-centeredness by showing compassion and empathy toward others.

· Insecurities are created by fear – learn how to release fear – professional help may be useful.


· Try to have objective views without bias or prejudices.

· Stop being the victim.

· Develop your spiritual self which can bloom self-awareness.

Success is Waiting


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great article!

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Peggy W for the comment. Life certainly is a learning process :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We need to own up for our own actions and learn to accept the fact that we are all fallible. Life is a continual learning process.

    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      6 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Billybuc for the comment. That is so true, as a society there is a pill or quick fix for almost anything so we are in the deepest denial ever. It is unfortunate because this is what children are beginning to learn as the norm.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As a teacher, I saw this happening with greater regularity over the I see it more and more with adults. I think it is definitely a sign of the times and the society we live in today. It is often hard to look in the mirror and know that the buck stops right there in the glass. :)


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