Alcoves Are Like Cozy Sweaters.

You know, there's something really fucking powerful that happens when we decide it's up to us.  

When we stop thinking someone else is going to make it look pretty for us.

When we look around and think, "Oh.  This isn't what I wanted.  I'd better do something about it."

And I can tell you, too, that while it's powerful and mighty to recognize the real insights behind the idea of personal accountability, it's also scary as hell.  It's so scary that it's easy to run away from the lives we know we can achieve - again and again - because the thought of stepping into our space in the world is so massively paralyzing that retreat seems safer.

It isn't.

Because retreat only brings you back to that same little opening in the woods, the alcove you've visited a thousand times before, the place you've come back to and thought, "Wait - wasn't I just here?  This looks familiar."  It's a nice little opening, yes.  I won't tell you it's not.  But while standing there, can't you see what's beyond?  What's past the circle of trees?  Aren't you curious?  

Let's step away from the metaphorical imagery for a moment and get right to it.

I spent too many years shrinking into the molds other people made for me.  I tried to be small.  I tried to be quiet.  I tried to say the right things, to lack bold opinions, to allow bad behavior because nice girls must forgive, must accept, must smile.  Stepping sure-footed into my space is the single most terrifying move I've ever made, and yet I know that I will die full of regret if I continue to suggest to myself that my voice is insignificant, that I'm too small and unimportant to say what I think the world needs to hear.

But, friends, I can't just stand in the alcove anymore.  (Gimme one more second with the imagery.)  I sense that there's something marvelous out there, something sparkling and grand.  I can smell it.  But it means I need to walk out of the safety and comfort of this familiar place, this place where things are cozy like a sweater.  Where I feel safe because I'm not really standing for anything.  Where I can speak in generalizations that pin me to nothing, that keep me safely in the middle.

Comfort is nice.  But it's not going to revolutionize anything.

So here it is: I believe - deeply - in personal accountability.  I believe that my life is up to me.  I believe that my emotional health is up to me.  I believe that how I interact in relationships with others is completely up to me.  

This seems obvious, I know.  But in practice, it's wild.

In practice, this means that my half of a relationship is completely in my hands.  Do I respond with anger or with patience?  Do I consciously erect a boundary to protect myself or do I bang the door down and initiate a difficult conversation?  These choices are mine.  Daily, they are mine.  And the beauty of personal accountability is that I have no one to blame anymore, for anything.  Because my response to my life is completely up to me.  

How fucking huge is that!?  

I can tell you: it's fucking mega huge.

Circumstances change.  Things happen to us - nasty things, beautiful things, unexpected things.  We make decisions that don't turn out the way we thought they would.  It's up to us, in every single tiny moment, to decide how we respond to that information.  And those responses, tiny though they seem, build and build into the days and years of our lives.  Which is why the concept of personal accountability is so vital: it's the cornerstone upon which we can build a life that feeds us.

The bottom line?  We're in charge of where we end up.

Lovin' on ya,
*E

Emily Ballard1 Comment