“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.” ~Goethe
As I’ve traveled along this journey of transformation, I’ve increasingly come to realize just how little control I have over so much in life that I have spent so much time and effort trying to control. At the very same time, I’ve also realized that I have so much more control other areas than I had ever realized or tried to make use of.
It comes down to this: I only have control over me, but I do have full control over me. Unfortunately, I’ve spent my life thus far trying to control everything but me. I’m finding that the more I shift my efforts to control what I actually can control, the better life works for me (and probably for those around me too).
However, I can also clearly see that I can still have great influence over other people by the way I treat them. I can’t control them, but I can help or hinder them on their own path to becoming the person they are capable of becoming with the way that I respond to them and the degree to which I hold them to be whole and complete in themselves.
All of these things I understand and am growing into (even if I have a way to go before I live them as fully as I’d like). However, every time I read this quote, my mind veers off to a related question that I have not been able to find my own answer for.
If I can help others become the person they are capable of becoming by the way I treat them, what about the way I treat me? What effect is the way I treat myself having on me becoming who I am capable of becoming?
How do I treat myself as I am? How do I treat myself as I ought to be? How do I treat myself as someone capable of becoming all that I can be? How do I tell the difference? How do I change the way I treat me to be more supportive of my own development?
If I all I really have control over is me, then it seems to me that the best route to consistently treating others in ways that help them to become all they are capable of becoming is to first learn to treat myself as capable of all that I am capable of becoming. The challenge is figuring out exactly what that means.
How do you treat yourself? Are you treating yourself in ways that help you become all that you are capable of being?
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.