I made a mistake a few days ago that threw me through a loop. (I thought I had done something I hadn’t, thereby failing to prevent a problem that escalated to involve many other people. The problem itself wasn’t my bad deed, so really my guilt here should be a lot less than it is, but my side of the street isn’t clean either because if I’d been more vigilant I would have caught it before it escalated.)

It’s been four days since I realized what happened, and just now I’m starting to emerge from the cloud of terrible bad feeling. I am very, very bad at dragging myself out of a funk when I have made a mistake. I honestly think the biggest help this time was coming to this blog on Thursday (I haven’t been here in a long time) and encountering the decisive element quote, which I had posted on my profile page and declared was my religious creed (a now-dead link, incidentally). I had forgotten the quote, and looked it up to reread it. Since Thursday, I’ve looked it up and reread it again about ten times. I’m posting it here in case maybe some day it will help someone else.

“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 is 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.”

–either Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Haim Ginott, the internet cannot tell me which for sure

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