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  • Writer's pictureAshley Peterson, LPC

AITA?

Growing up the two greatest concepts that my mother imparted in my sister and I was the idea of accountability.  Perfection was never an expectation or goal, but accountability was required. Knowing that I was allowed to make mistakes, provided me the courage and confidence to make them… and make them I did 😌 (and still do).  Being taught to think

critically helped temper my reactions and identify my emotions. This tool provided me the space and time to pause before responding, offering me the opportunity to be more intentional in my communications.  What was once such a challenge has become an invaluable skill in life and work.


Last fall while cleaning out my closet, I made a list of things that I do that are counterproductive to my growth and goals.  Whew, what a humbling task that required radical honesty and personal accountability.  If we have the ability to look outward and identify the people, places, and things that are preventing us or providing barriers to our success/growth etc.  then it is a fair assumption that we also have the ability to reflect inward.  *Keep that same energy*  


There is no progress without accountability.  Luckily, progress can be measured in numerous ways; clinical instruments/assessments, feedback from friends/family/peers, vision boards, accomplishments, perspective in handling situations differently etc the options are endless.  For me, accountability means that every success or failure -no matter how big or small- I play an active role.


This was a lesson continuously present in the navigation of my 20s paired with entering the mental health field. I knew where I wanted to be and how to get there and even had a proposed timeframe.  When my mentors, family and professionals I looked up to offered differing opinions, challenged my perspectives or encouraged me to sit in reflection without movement- at times I internalized it as they didn’t believe in me.  That resulted in me building walls so high that at times I inadvertently obstructed my own view.  Turning the volume down so low in fear of criticism that I also was unable to hear the support. They always believed in me, the challenge was I was unable to receive that belief and support due to it not being packaged in the way that I was open to. I spent a lot of valuable time fighting invisible battles and engaging in one-sided arguments.


Over the years I have come to understand that support can look and sound like asking questions, challenging perspectives, offering unsolicited support and opinions and I have learned to value those perspectives and quiet my emotions that may distort the message.  If the only way that you can accept support is through adoration and agreement, you cheat yourself out of a wealth of perspectives and feedback that can be directly linked to your ability to progress and meet those goals.


I started this year asking my clients to reflect and journal these three questions;

1st Identify 4 areas of your life (ex. Career, home, relationships, health) 

  1. What would make your life perfect?

  2. How do you avoid discomfort (in each of those areas identified)?

  3. Does this avoidance support your goals for growth?

Sometimes we are standing in our own way, and that’s OK.  Just don’t forget that you have the opportunity to move around.


Happy New Year!


<3 Ashley


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