Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Essence of Esteem

When I woke up this morning, I felt more at ease, but I never know whether I'm picking up on a sea change in the District or if I've simply had a good night's sleep. Down the street in the Capitol, they struck a deal at the very last second last night. Holy cow. Whew.... I am breathing easier.

One thing that every member of Congress has in spades is self-confidence. Every member on both sides of the aisle believes he/she knows what will help bring goodness to the U.S. I think it's self-confidence that helps them get elected, which is interesting to me as right now I am examining my own low levels of self-esteem. I have very high self-esteem professionally. In the treatment room I am comfortable and at ease, but in other parts of my life, not so much.

While they were visiting a couple of weeks ago, two very very dear friends acted as a mirror, reflected back to me a very different reality, in some respects, than my version of my life. It was so interesting. Insights into my deficient self-esteem came streaming into consciousness. Perhaps as interesting is the fact that I was willing to take on their points of view so readily. I believed what they said and saw, even though they were only here for a few days, over what I believe in my own heart of hearts. What is that about??

Clearly I still have a lot of work to do in this area. Maybe that's why I live seven blocks from the Capitol. Maybe I'm here in order to soak up some of the abundant self-confidence that is a part of feng shui of Congress. Do you think? They go to work every day, every one of them, where they face off against people in complete disagreement, but mostly they do not bend to the will of others. They are so sure they're right.

Everybody hates them, or at least feels exasperated that they don't do a better job. Still, they don't stay in bed all day with the covers pulled over their heads. They get up every day, put on their boring suits, and stand tall. How in heck do they do it?


Reya Mellicker said...

Please avoid the temptation to trash Congress here, OK? I really appreciate it, thanks.

Pauline said...

That's an interesting view of Congress. I would have said over-confidence to the exclusion of openness...

You said, "I believed what they (your friends) said and saw, even though they were only here for a few days, over what I believe in my own heart of hearts. What is that about??"

For what it's worth, it sounds you suffer, like many of us babyboomers, from social politeness, ingrained by the society we grew up in. When you find yourself agreeing with someone when you really don't agree, it's your social self taking over, that please-others-at-all-costs, don't ruffle feathers agreement we learned at our mothers' knee, not something you do from your soul.

Reya Mellicker said...

Pauline, interesting. I do want EVERYONE to love me (something that members of Congress don't seem to give much of a rat's ass about). But my mother was a feather ruffling, anti-establishment, stand up and be heard kind of person. I was the weirdo in my family because I was shy.

So you're saying members of Congress are inflated rather than self confident? In general?

Angela said...

You bring interesting points together, your own self-esteem and that of politicians, why are we normal people self-doubting (which I think is good!) and why aren`t they? Is it that they were SENT there on a purpose, standing up for THIS single point of view and not even allowed to think for themselves or agree to other`s?
We, in normal life, can throw over our funny ideas any time, if we get convinced others know better, but as a politician you`d get fired I guess.
Low self-esteem is not desirable and also mostly not rectified, but a little listening to others is not forbidden, right?
Must think about this topic a little more.

Reya Mellicker said...

Both of you make good points - inflation is a very different thing from solid self-esteem which would allow for listening to other points of view.

I actually love it when someone changes my mind. At least about one particular thing, my friends opened my eyes to something I had not been able to perceive because of my internal ageism. Really interesting!

janis said...

ahh Reya~
I love ya Dearly♥
You inspire me so much with your words of wisdom and your gift of photography. You make me "think" and for that I am very appreciative.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya, People are wired differently. Some are more conflict averse than others. Politicians can handle conflict really well. And yes, confident, not prone to doubt themselves like, well, I do.

I happen to know a lot of local politicians because my wife is one. My Congresswoman, Lynne Woolsey, visited my kindergarten a while back. All the politicians I know are decent people, but more they are more tolerant of disagreement than most of us.

I think the reason we're so disappointed in our politicians has less to do with their character and more to do with the fact is that the game they play is rigged. How?

It takes WAY, WAY too much money to run for any office bigger than a district you can canvass on foot. The mountains of money that must be raised to run for statewide or national office allows the rich to call the dance and see that their interests are served by the politicians they bought. The exceptions are few.

Reya Mellicker said...

Dan you're a genius! YES - they LOVE conflict and head banging, yes yes. And yes about the process being rigged. Also congressional process is so labor intensive and complicated. I'm impressed anything ever happens.

Aww Janis, THANKS!

ellen abbott said...

I don't know if I would call politicians self-confident. The people I admire as self-confident don't stand there with 'my way or the highway'. I think they are more self-centered than self-confident. And I think Dan has it right when it comes to who get elected and whose interests they really represent.

You come across to me as being plenty self-confident. that doesn't mean you never doubt yourself. but doubting yourself does not necessarily equate to being unself-confident (is that a word?).

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah I come across differently than I feel inside. Very interesting.

Jo said...

Wait, who were you with when you "took on their points of view so readily...over what I believe in my own heart of hearts." ??

LOL...I remember finally insisting that I wouldn't try to change your mind, only that I wanted to point out something you may not have considered!

You have a very strong sense of yourself, my dear friend, which is entirely good and appropriate and enviable for most of us. How many of us know our soul's purpose? How many live with your obvious intent to carry out that purpose? Not so many.

And when you are in doubt about something, you are completely open to others' ideas and viewpoints. You are willing to consider perspectives that many of us won't. That is NEVER a bad thing, and certainly is not to be confused with low self esteem.

In short, I think you're utterly fabulous, and am very sorry if I made you feel anything less than that. xoxo

Reya Mellicker said...

Jo you ONLY make me feel awesome! Truly!

When you said I looked serene, I thought, "Oh. I looked serene, because Jo said so," but then when Pauline said I looked "pinned to the wall," that's what I saw, looking at the pic. I am very suggestible and have a very deep seated lack of trust in my perceptions. I'm working with it.

I am well versed with my soul's purpose, but in pretty much every other way, I'm never sure of anything.

Natalie said...

You come across as very confident to me also.