I am the Decisive Element.

Jan 30, 2012

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make a 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 will be 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." 
-- Goethe

I think there's a point in all our lives when we realize just how much power we have. We cannot always choose what happens to us, but our reaction is always ours. I was reminded of this just this morning. 

My husband came home from work at 8am absolutely exhausted. I needed to go to the hospital to get another super-fun test done for my command sponsorship (for non-military friends, that's when they decide that I'm legally allowed to live here in Japan instead of being a visitor) and since I'm not allowed to drive yet, Aaron had to take me. I got up and quickly got ready (I thought) but I wasn't quick enough. In the twenty minutes it had taken me to throw myself together Aaron had already fallen asleep on the couch. I woke him up and asked him to get ready. He was grumpy from being woken up. He snapped at me, I snapped at him, we continued snapping for a few minutes while he grumbled and got ready to go. Then he snapped at me one more time and I thought to myself, "Why are we so mad at each other?" Aaron did not do anything to me. He didn't hurt me, he didn't yell at me, he was just exhausted and even though he knew he needed to take me to the hospital (and he was trying), he was too tired to function properly. 

That's when I took a deep breath, stopped being mad, and simply let it all go. I rescheduled the appointment. I pushed him into bed. I rubbed his back for a few minutes to help him relax (he was very worked up over nothing, the way you get when you're too tired to think straight). I kissed him goodnight and I left him to get some sleep. I knew it didn't have to go that way. Aaron would have taken me to the hospital if I'd let him. He would have sacrificed his sleep to help me. He would have given up what he needed for what I needed. That's just the kind of man he is. 

So instead of being mad that things didn't go the way I'd planned them, I reminded myself that sometimes (or always, with the military) I need to be flexible. I need to let the little things go and figure out another way. And I need to remember how lucky I am to have a husband who will put my needs before his. Instead of spending the day grumpy about our sudden change of plans I spent the day snuggling my puppy, cooking yummy food, and doing a puzzle while my husband got some much needed (and deserved) sleep. I refused to let today be a bad one. 

Today, and always, I am the decisive element.


  1. What a truly awesome perspective to have. It can be so hard to choose your attitude, but so rewarding when you choose the right one!

    1. I agree. I'm not saying that I'm always positive or happy (heaven knows I'm not!) but I do try my best. I'm the eternal optimist!

  2. That was an amazing way to look at life!

  3. Hey there. Just found your blog today. I'm also a military wife, on the move all the time and often in a new environment. Thanks for sharing how you feel. We've all been there and I LOVE your attitude for just getting on with it. But I like that you're honest about your crankiness. Stay strong!!!! Love the blog!


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