We knew he lied. We knew he doped. What we didn’t know was that he could attack others knowing full well they were telling the truth. We didn’t know that he could speak of destroying others for years and not shed a tear. During his interview with Oprah, we were witness to the inner workings of a man bent on control and domination. Lance Armstrong showed how he could manage to hurt others in a calculated way. He could discuss it in millions of viewers and maintain his composure. Perhaps he sheds a tear in the future, like tonight’s interview, but last night his cool, collected attitude was simply creepy.
People who manipulate and control have always gotten ahead. They’re willing to do things that people of conscience are incapapble of doing. That’s why you should never get into a battle with them; you can’t possibly win. They aren’t playing by the same emotional rules. They are great at two things: rationalizing and compartmentalizing. Rationalizing is a way of justifying anything one wants to do. Everyone is doping, so will I. My heroism is a lie but I’m helping so many people through my success so it’s all okay. Compartmentalizing helps dominators sleep at night. When thoughts of morality begin to form, they are instantly compressed and rerouted into oblivion.
What is almost always true of this personality is their charm. They know how to play the game so well. They smile just right, act caring just right, even show personal struggle just right. It is the fact that it’s always “just right” that tips their hand but because those around them want so much to believe, they miss it.
Nobody is supposed to be perfect or flawless. We are supposed to be off our game and anyone who never seems to be, is putting us all on.
So why do we all get duped? We love the hope that is offerred by seeing someone else who is so perfect. We want to leave ourselves for a moment in exchange for living in someones else’s glory. We leave our lives behind and live through others. We want to believe so badly that we look away from signs of chicanery.
Perhaps all of us need to see the heroism within each of us. Lance Armstrong’s legacy is that we need to stop trying to make heroes out of dangerous manipulators and find our internal heroism. That heroism will not be perfect, it won’t get us worhipers or even a moment of fame, but it will give us moments of blissful glory and genuine self appreciation. When we love another, care for others, connect with our spirituality or any part of our wonderful world, we show our individual depth and character. Let’s say goodbye to Lance and the men and women who want to be our heroes and show ourselves what true heroism looks like.
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M Gary Neuman is a New York Times best-selling author, and creator of Neuman Method Programs. He was on the Oprah show 11 times as well as having made multiple appearances on Today, Dateline, the View, NPR and others. Oprah referred to Gary as “One of the best psychotherapists in the world.”