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Politicians and the Ego
Posted: 7/2/2009 | Personal Development Comments
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As a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher, watching a fellow psychotherapist commenting on big egos and politics on one of those 24 hour news channels got me thinking. The story being covered was about the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford and his extramarital affair.



The term big ego is used so often when we actually mean wounded ego. An overinflated sense of self is actually insecurity. Having a strong ego and knowing who we really are with our strengths and our faults would include a sense of humility. We have nothing to prove, can relax and simply be ourselves. We are empowered from an internal place, not from getting accolades from others. 



Have you ever noticed how many people with a particular kind of inflated ego are drawn to certain more public professions like politics, acting, performing, comedians, and musicians? It’s a case of the chicken or the egg, really. Sometimes I see people being drawn to public professions in order to get applause, power or attention. This would be in part due to their childhoods. Then again, when you have a certain talent for something and get a lot of recognition for it, especially too fast, then there is sense that you are more important. I find that people who took more time to find their achievement or have worked on themselves, have the chance to integrate their egos as they move along. They are more able to put it all in perspective.



Let’s look at politicians specifically. Many politicians went to school, became lawyers, and while some really wanted to make a difference in the world, some sought a sense of external power in order to feel a sense of internal power. So, it would make sense that the need for external power continues in every aspect of their life. This together with the fact that they are more public is why we hear so often of politicians and their extramarital affairs. Elliot Spitzer, ex-Governor of New York, John Edwards, ex-Senator of North Carolina and presidential candidate, Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, Bob Barr, Republican Congressman from Georgia, John Ensign, Senator of Nevada, are just a few examples of politicians using their position to feel important. The sense of “self-importance” is often fed by all the attention they get from being in the public eye. Then there are those who feel important and a sense of power by being associated with “powerful” people. This, in turn, feeds the possible over-inflated ego or wounded ego of the politician.




There has been this image that people are supposed to be “perfect.” In terms of leaders, especially political people, often that perfection includes some John Wayne-like image. There are times when one has to make quick black and white decisions. When people who hold tight to this image of power are questioned, they give an example of an exaggerated weakling, instead of knowing that it’s possible to be integrated, meaning, being thoughtful, feeling and decisive. That’s what is so great about Obama. He takes a moment. He takes a breath, weighs all sides so that when he does act it is from a base of more wisdom. When will this image of a cardboard John Wayne as some sense of power finally loosen its hold on our society?




Of course, being in the profession I’m in, I think the world would be a better place if everybody did their personal development. This would include psychotherapy, workshops, reading books and other ways to challenge a persons’ fixed thinking and feeling. For some reason, if a candidate says they have been in therapy, people view that as a weakness. Unfortunately this means no one can say that they have been, needed to or wanted to look at themselves or work with a therapist. Anyone who is willing to look at themselves and pay attention to their inner stirrings rather than act out their unhealed childhood drama should be commended. That’s who we should vote for. That’s who we want running the companies and corporations in the world. My wish for the Elliot Spitzers, John Edwards, Mark Sanfords, John Ensigns, and Bob Barrs is that they get serious about their internal life so they are able to govern and run their lives with honor, maturity and dignity, not some kind of false self.



MerylRunion       Posted: 7/4/2009 11:39:17 AM

When we keep ourselves in power boxes, people can awaken archetypes in us that stir our soul. We sense what we missed - and see that person as the source of it - our supply, so to speak. I don''t see affairs as much about inflated ego as I do a fragmented existence that lacks soul. The call of the other woman (man) is a call of the soul, and if we can answer it by feeding our souls in ways that don''t enhance the fragmentation, we end up more whole.

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