I was sad to hear of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, not just because of the deeper turmoil her death will plunge our country into but because she was a kind-hearted, passionate leader, and the world needs more of those right now. And yet, for her, I was relieved. She could lay down the fight. She could finally rest.
Since her death, I keep hearing and remembering stories from her life, anecdotes about her commitment to justice, and her passion for the complexity of the law. She was the epitome of self-loyalty. Even with her deep friendship with Justice Scalia, who interpreted the constitution in the opposite way as RBG, and yet they could see common ground in their love of the law. I believe what they admired in each other was a deep commitment to their values.
What we don’t think about is how she might have been driven by self-doubt. She too might have had a very loud Monger that pushed her unrelentingly to do it perfectly and never rest. As we all have done, she might have laid awake at night feeling like a complete failure and thinking to herself, “Once I get __ everything will be ok.” She might have stories from her kids or husband that showed when she ignored them because of work or failed to attend their performances or games. We forget that she was human and, therefore, messy.
We tend to build people up to these unattainable standards to make their work seem impossible to achieve. We compare our insides (our self-doubt, insecurities, fears) to her outsides (her accolades, soft-spoken confidence, and brilliant legal mind.)
I think that is what I admire most about RBG; she didn’t encourage us to put her on a pedestal. She didn’t crave that attention. In fact, she often questioned it. She knew she was imperfect, and she kept going despite that.
RBG’s story is one of persistence, resilience, and passion. Her story is a reminder to us that life is hard. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. We will get it wrong; we will make mistakes we will be consumed by self-doubt. And yet, each day we wake up, we look our messy, imperfect selves in the mirror, and we re-commit to living our values. We re-commit to self-loyalty.
It isn’t easy.
It isn’t a 3 step process.
There isn’t a secret formula.
We will do it wrong. But if there is one thing I have learned from RBG, if I wait to take action until I feel 100% confident, I will never take action.
My goal in working with clients with HFA is not to heal their self-doubt and anxiety so they can take action (that is impossible). Instead, my goal is to help them live with their HFA to recognize when it is serving them and when it is paralyzing them and the actions they need to take to recalibrate and bring self-loyalty to the forefront once again.