Own Your Feelings: 9 Ways To Hold Emotional Accountability
Emotions can be contagious. After all, when your loved one feels happy, you feel happy with them and when they are angry, you might begin to believe that their anger is your responsibility as you bear it with them. However, in our support and empathy towards their feelings, we often forget that it’s NOT our responsibility to bear their feelings.
Let’s take an example; in the middle of a fight with your spouse, they (in their heightened emotional state) reply with, “You’re making me angry!” This hastily spoken statement under a heightened emotional state makes you feel either guilty or makes you self-blame.
This is what I’m talking about here. When you begin to blame yourself or feel guilty for emotions others feel, then it could be referred to as emotional projection, a state which can cause co-dependency in relationships.
Here’s the scoop though; You are not responsible for what others feel just like they are not accountable for yours. This is what we’re exploring in this article; emotional accountability and how to own your feelings.
What Does “Owning Your Feelings” Mean?
Taking ownership of your feelings is all about changing your belief. If someone tries to make you feel guilty for making them feel strong emotions then it can be “emotional projection”. This means that you are projecting what you don’t like about yourself, say anger, or other such emotions on others as a way to not feel bad.
So instead of owning your emotions, you deflect and make others take the guilt and blame for how you feel. This can be a subtle sign of gaslighting and can even cause guilt trips and unrelated arguments.
When you project your emotions and feelings onto others, you can not only harm others but yourself too. This emotional projection you engage in can lead to unhealthy relationships, insecure attachments, resentment, and bullying in relationships.
When I say, “own your feelings”, I mean, taking charge of your emotions and instead of placing others with the guilt of your feelings, you embrace them as a part of you.
It’s OK to not want to feel bad about yourself and I believe that it’s one of the reasons why emotional projection can be considered a defense mechanism. You might not even realize you’re doing it, but you might be subconsciously looking for a target to blame.
Did you know that we most likely develop this defense mechanism in our teens? Let’s take a look at some ways you can hold emotional accountability and own your feelings.
How To Become Emotionally Responsible?
1.Understand That You Can’t Change Others
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions just as you are. It’ll do you good to remember that you can’t change others just as others can’t change you. You can’t control others’ feelings, thoughts, and emotions and if you try to change or control them, you’ll end up getting hurt. So, when you want to become emotionally responsible, try to spend less time changing others and more on helping yourself take charge of your feelings.
2.Use “I” Statements
When you’re upset, it’s OK to tell your loved one what upset you. This needs to be done in a non-blaming way though. You need to use more “I” statements instead of “YOU” statements. Try to say, “I feel miserable when you hide something from me.” instead of, “You make me feel miserable.”
3.Speak Your Needs
You’re not a mind reader, right? Just like this, the other person isn’t a mind-reader too. So don’t expect people to understand your needs. The more you put expectations on others, the more you set yourself up for disappointment. Learn to share your needs with others. For example, say, “I worry when you don’t reach home safely. Can you send me a text when you get home?”
4.Mind Your Actions
Words and actions can hurt equally, so mind your actions as you do your words. Instead of focusing on others, focus on yourself. If you’re upset with your partner, it’s OK but don’t let your feelings be an excuse to start an argument. You can’t control their actions but you can mind yours.
5.Question Your Thoughts
Again, actions are important as words. If your loved one is hurting you with their actions (or lack thereof), then you might not be wrong. However, if you’re thinking negatively about their actions or your response, then think again, “Is it true what you’re feeling?” “Are you being fair to them?” Question your thoughts and think about the blame you’re unintentionally or intentionally putting on others. Is it justified?
6.Take Responsibility For Your Actions
If you make a mistake, then own it. That’s one of the ways of learning to be emotionally responsible. Instead of making unreasonable excuses, own your mistakes. Apologize if you have to. When you take responsibility for your actions, it becomes easier to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words, and emotions.
It’s a defense mechanism, this emotional projection, so when you find yourself using emotional projection, take a step back and take care of yourself. You might be overwhelmed, stressed, or lonely to use this defense mechanism. Prioritize self-care and make sure you meet your needs that are neglected.
8.Stay Away From Negative People
Most of the time, it’s the company that needs changing. If you’re looking to learn how to be emotionally responsible for your feelings, then learn to select positive company. It is understood that emotional projection is common in people with personality disorders and people who use emotional abuse or manipulation. If you find yourself in the company of such people, then consider cutting ties with them for your well-being.
9.Seek Help, If And When Needed
Another way to learn how to be emotionally responsible is to seek help when and if you need it. You don’t have to do it alone and that’s one way of reminding yourself that it’s OK to seek help even if you’re learning how to be responsible for your feelings. A therapist can help guide you through your beliefs and become more comfortable with your feelings.
You are not accountable for others’ feelings but are responsible for your own. It’s OK to have empathy and feel others’ emotions, but it’s not ok to project those feelings onto yourself. Others’ emotions and feelings are not your responsibility as yours are not others’ responsibility.
I hope this article helped you understand how to take emotional accountability. For more, you can write to us at email@example.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.