I started Richard Nixon's In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat and Renewal. In this post, I'd like to highlight something that Nixon says on pages 32-33:
also relied on support from my friends. When you win from politics,
you hear from everyone. When you lose, you hear from your friends.
After Watergate, it was a miracle that I had as many as I did. Some
came to see me, some called me on the telephone, others wrote
encouraging letters. As good friends, they did not dwell on the tragedy
of the past. Thankfully, they did not express sympathy, for the only
thing worse than self-pity is to be the object of pity from others.
They talked only about the good times we had shared in the past and the
even better times we could hope to share in the future. And finally,
the mail----the letters from tens of thousands of people from all over
the country and the world, most of whom I had never met----played an
indispensable role in bucking up my spirits during a difficult time. I
was, of course, unable to read and answer them all. But it was
heartwarming to know that while there was no longer a silent majority,
at least the minority which was left was not silent."
with what Nixon said about not liking to be the object of pity from
others. That passage reminded me of something that Nixon said on page
36 of another book that he wrote, Leaders:
Churchill for the last time in 1958 when I went to London for the
dedication of the memorial to the American dead in World War II at St.
Paul's Cathedral. I hesitated to ask for an appointment with Churchill
because I knew he had not been well. But his aide felt that it would be
good for him to talk to someone about problems other than his own
physical condition. I had learned long before never to ask a sick man
how he feels, because he may tell you. But many, and this is especially
true of leaders, want to talk about the world rather than
about themselves. When I called on John Foster Dulles in his last
months when he was dying of cancer at Walter Reed Hospital, I always
asked him for his opinions on current foreign policy problems rather
than dwelling on how he was feeling. Mrs. Dulles, his nurse, and his
secretary all told me that my visits gave him an enormous boost because
they lifted him out of his own desperate troubles."
myself, I don't have a great problem with people feeling sorry for me.
Of course I want for people to care about me and whatever I'm going
through! But I usually don't like for people to express their pity or
sympathy for me within a social situation. That may be because I find
that to be depressing, or I'm not sure how exactly to respond. When I
am down, I often prefer to discuss topics----such as politics or TV
shows----rather than to have to listen to people's sympathy.