Those who say avoiding eye contact show low self-confidence have not heard of Justice Ruth Ginsburg

The fascinating and intriguing life of the late Justice Ruth Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court, who passed away last Friday at the age of 87years, has received elaborate tributes from various individuals and groups around the world.

In their remarks on the passing of Justice Ginsburg who died of pancreatic cancer, United States President Donald Trump called her ‘a titan of the law,” while the Chief Justice of United States, John Roberts said, “Our nation has lost a jurist of historical stature.”

There are so many things to reflect about on the life of the one whom her fans fondly called ‘The Notorious R.B.G.’ But I could not get past the fact that she was reported to have avoided eye contact in conversations.

Many researchers of human behaviour have sometimes reported that those who avoid eye contact in conversations have low or unhealthy self-esteem. That such persons are fearful and timid. Insecure and tentative. Capitulating and easily conceding to the slightest of nudges. Thus, many teenagers have been told to look whoever is talking to them in the eye, face to face eyeball to eyeball; don’t look away. These teenagers are told that avoiding eye contact is a sign of weakness and surrender. That it surrenders the initiative to the other person. Predators like those who look away when they speak, the argument goes on and on. Eventually, the subject of performance is introduced into the analysis and persons with low or unhealthy self-esteem and persons of high self-esteem are compared. The result is often predictable: high performance is associated with high self-esteem and low performance is associated with low self-esteem.

Yet for late Justice Ruth Ginsburg, her works, ways and wins are nothing but phenomenal. There is nothing like low performance in much of her life, regardless of the fact that she had difficulty getting a job after qualifying as a lawyer in 1959.

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