By Keri Nola, MA, LMHC
Lance Armstrong’s recent confession on using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, after denying this reality for years, is generating intense reactions in many people. The truth is, it’s often easy and more comfortable in these situations for us to stand on the outside peering in through a judgmental frame.
When someone shows us a glimpse of the human shadow through behaviors such as lying and cheating, we have a choice. We can take the ego’s default path of judgment and blame, or we can take the road less traveled and use these moments to journey inward and discover our own opportunities for growth and evolution.
Here are 3 Life Lessons we can glean from this situation:
1. Humans are imperfect. I am human. I am imperfect.
Let’s face it, we aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of acknowledging our imperfection, are we? While I can’t speak specifically to what led Lance Armstrong to make the choices he made, I can say that as humans we are all imperfect, and will face struggles with integrity. Whether to ourselves, to others, or both, we often avoid, justify and deny truths we aren’t ready to face, such as “my wine drinking is just social,” or “I’m not having an affair, we’re just friends.”
Armstrong’s public expression of humanness can help us remember our opportunity to discover where we may be lying to ourselves and consider welcoming truth into those spaces with love. Longstanding denial creates profound disconnection from ourselves and others, and often leads to more temptation toward dishonesty. It’s time to acknowledge your imperfection, forgive yourself and welcome the truth.
2. Humans need to feel needed, loved and approved of.
When we are not engaging in meeting our own needs, loving and approving of ourselves, we will often go to great lengths to get these needs met externally. Let’s allow our witnessing of Armstrong’s shadow self, to shine light on the places we are abandoning our own values in exchange for external love and approval. Where have you been willing to justify your behaviors and choices to be included, approved of and/or rewarded?
3. External power requires great internal accountability.
Whether it is power that comes from money, position, fame or some combination of these, it is easy for the ego to abuse privilege and power. It takes a significant amount of self-awareness and accountability to remain grounded and present to make choices that resonate with our highest, divine purpose rather than giving into the ease of taking advantage of our power. Be mindful today of what positions of power you hold as a parent, as a supervisor, a member of a privileged culture, class, race, age or gender. Consider how you can adjust your behavior to be more congruent with equality and connection as opposed to superiority and disconnection.
To raise the vibration of our planet at this time, I invite us to abandon blame while digging deep for the courage to go within to discover what we’re seeing in others that can serve as a reminder for us of our own humanness, and sit with ourselves there.
Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path toGrowth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit www.pathtogrowth.com, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.
NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso