There are a lot of lawyers who try to become judges. Frankly, most do not make it. And then there are those who do make it, and let the power and prestige get to them. They develop black robe disease which, of course, is fatal. There seems to be no known cure for it. So, practicing “safe judging” is the best way to avoid getting black robe disease — and may even be the key to those already afflicted with it who quest for a cure.
Maybe we need to talk about gratitude. There is a plethora of research on gratitude. According to an article in the Psychiatry MMC journal:
The majority of available research studies indicate that gratitude is associated with an enhanced sense of personal well-being . . . [e]xperiencing gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation tends to foster positive feelings, which in turn, contribute to one’s overall sense of well-being. Therefore, gratitude appears to be one component, among many components, that contributes to an individual’s well being.
This is not an argument for self-delusion or false optimism, but rather a recognition that it is all too easy to lose perspective and see only bad behavior and motives. A Harvard Medical School publication put it this way:
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.