What is your first response when you are being held accountable? I realize that this may feel like a loaded question. My intent in the question is not shame. However, I believe our thought process and inner dialogue of this question begins to “arm" us or “disarm" us according to a few factors.
The first is do we feel there is love? Do I believe that the person holding me accountable has my best interests at heart? The second is shame. Am I anticipating that those who are holding me accountable desire to point out my wrongs, insufficiencies or have a desire to rationalize me away?
If we fear shame is coming, we hide, deflect, try to manipulate, and put up a defense. So let me attempt to disarm you.
I’ve been thinking about this idea of heat resistance. I’m usually a fan of hopping onto Google and searching the meaning of words or phrases. I typed in “What is heat resistant” and I loved the definition. Heat resistant is another phrase for being heatproof or simply not easily becoming hot. Most of the time I would think that being heat resistant is a good thing in our culture or world. However, when it comes to growing as a person in our character or being held accountable, we resist the heat coming our way.
Proverbs tells us that our Heavenly Father refines us through suffering and through success (Proverbs 17:3 & 27:21). These two experiences or forces have a way of revealing what is truly going on in our hearts and souls.
In suffering, we are broken down to our core. We may fight at first, but the suffering and pain overwhelm us and we eventually get to a place of surrender. In times of trial, our hearts are under attack, and it is our hearts that get revealed. The path or time it takes to get to surrender is revealing what is truly in us. Our response to suffering usually either softens us or makes us even more bitter and defiant.
However, when it comes to success, there is a different forging going on in us. Success reveals what we worship, value, or idolize. When we are praised, rewarded or overly affirmed we aren’t broken-down, we are built up. Success reveals what is in our hearts: our pride, independence, and self-sufficiency from a different point of view.
What type of leader, husband, mom, or friend are you when others are speaking truth into your life?
I want to encourage you to not be heat resistant when you are around the people who love you. We can all make up excuses and reasons why we won’t listen to those who are not for us. In fact, it almost becomes our battle cry. It’s us against the world. We are going to stand up for the injustice! We can rationalize away the words of others because we know they aren’t for us.
What do you do when the people who genuinely love you and are for you, are speaking truth, and you don’t want to hear it? What’s going on in your mind and heart in these moments? What is it triggering in you? Here are 5 signs that you may be heat resistant. Take some time to think them through and be honest with yourself.
- You Deceive. When you are held accountable you change the wording, the facts, and vaguely describe information about your mistakes. You diffuse and rationalize your behavior. You avoid responsibility at almost any cost.
- You Decorate. You revert back to your past track record, your integrity, and highlight how you contribute. You overstate and amplify how you act with high standards. You decorate by embellishing the positive and diminishing the negative.
- You Deflect. You describe how you are treated unfairly, how others just don’t understand what you are going through, and how you are aren’t given the benefit of the doubt. You deflect to over emphasize you are the victim here.
- You Discredit. You mention other people's shortcomings or problems and question their motives and credibility. You discredit the character of others in order to exalt yourself.
- You Disengage. You decide you will quit or leave when the heat gets too hot. You rationalize how you don’t need the relationship, job, or experience. You disengage from the responsibility or the thought of engaging in real transparency.
According to Brene' Brown, shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment. We all have reasons for being defensive, especially when we feel threatened. Yet, over time, we may stay in a shame mode with everyone when it comes to responsibility.
Where do you need a fresh start? Not everyone in your life is against you and out to destroy you. I want to encourage you to embrace the heat of those who love you. Allow it to shape you and grow you into a better person. When this happens, not only do you benefit, but those around you do also. Be brave and take the risk to entrust your heart to those who are for you.
I believe that our best days are before us…not behind us. We all need a little encouragement, wisdom, and help from time to time. We can’t accomplish our goals in isolation or always on our own. We need each other. Remember, you are not alone. It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.