The Decisive Element


The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

Along with the hyperbole, the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the doomsaying, the denial and the anger, it was all too much for me today. If I thought it was just a short period of grieving, it might be bearable, but this stuff has already been going on for years now, so there’s no reason to think acceptance will ever come.

I came across this quote a while ago and I’ve been mulling it over.


I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.  It is my personal approach that creates the climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather.  I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized.  If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.  If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

And here’s the thing…I think this is true…to a point. I do think that my own behavior towards people creates a certain “climate”, but there will always be that person who deliberately, willfully misunderstands you in order to stay angry or to justify their own bad behavior. I was reminded of this today in so many interactions I saw taking place online.

In spite of that, I am going to do my best to remember that I am the decisive element, because, at the very least, it holds true for the climate I create for myself. If I can’t succeed in making pleasant weather for anyone else, I can create a sunny oasis for myself in the knowledge that I treated people as they ought to be.

(Unfortunately, I do not have a link to the original post for the image above. It is not mine. If you are the original owner and would like me to remove it, please just send me a message and I will be happy to comply! Thanks!)

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