Why 37days?

lance-armstrong-oprah-02_510x299I’ve written before about giving up the need to be right.

But it is a hard, hard thing to let go of, I continue to find. Particularly when you are right. Smile.

This week’s (unsurprising and unsatisfying) admission by Lance Armstrong–and the ways in which he has spent many years attacking and suing and belittling and calling “crazy” those who accused him of doing the very thing he was doing–well, let’s just say I can now understand how those he lied to (and about) must have felt at the time–and how they must feel now. Hollow victory; the damage has been done. And I don’t see Oprah interviewing them to get their side of the story, either. Lance Armstrong is still controlling the narrative he has spun, and continues to spin.

And because he so desperately needs to “control the narrative,” as he says, he pushed away any who could or would dare to dispute the narrative he was controlling. And he lied, continuously, about his own actions–the “narrative” was a narrative of lies and, most likely, he lost sight of what the truth was. And if the narrative he was controlling included intimating that his detractors were crazy or vengeful or had some irrational vendetta against him, or were suffering from high blood pressure or were simply living in a space of drama and irrational victimhood while he was living in a space of choice and opportunity, then there was hardly any space for those who knew to be heard. It is a convenient truth to control the narrative in such a way that any negative reaction to the narrative is discounted.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook last night:

I guess we all delude ourselves to a certain extent. I know we do. I know I do. We create stories to justify our actions. But wow, you either doped or you didn’t dope. You either ________ or you didn’t _______. Some things have harder edges than others, it seems. Not even right or wrong, but did or did not do. I wonder if we can all just own our actions, without belittling the people who are holding up the mirror to us.

We are beautiful train wrecks, we humans. Even so, it is a convenient truth to control the narrative of your life to the extent that anyone whose narrative differs is wrong. Ultimately, it leaves you all alone. In the extreme, there is no “winning” against a sociopath; there is no holding them accountable. It is an inconvenient truth to have someone raise their hand and say, “hold on, something has changed, let’s talk about this without lying.” It’s not so much the doing I mind; it’s the lying. Let us all live in grace and forgiveness for ourselves that we allowed a sociopath to be part of our lives, and let us give up the need to be right about something so wrong. Even, perhaps even especially, when we are right. And let us fully own our own actions.

This is not really a post about Lance Armstrong; this is a post about us all and some of us in particular.

What “inconvenient truth” are you rebelling against? And what “need to be right” do you want or need to give up? Leave a comment below so we can all learn from each other.


patti signature on white




[Image from Oprah Winfrey Network]


“Holding the mirror up for others.” When my first husband and I separated my yoga teacher at the time gave me a book on healthy boundaries. She warned me. Be careful when you put up a healthy boundary others may not take it well. Her gentle words were only the tip of the iceberg that stuck with me through some challenges that I navigated. We might be ready for the truth however most likely others are not in the same place.

“Giving up being right.” One of my proudest achievements was how I navigated my divorce. It took me years to work up the courage but when the time was right I did it a GREAT job. You see, I wasn’t trying to be right as you put it. I put to bed the years of hurt and disappointment and focused on my son and what was the best outcome for him. I turned the situation into an opportunity for healing so much so that it improved my son’s relationship with my dad and it gave him the opportunity to rise up to the occasion and be a better dad. This was a turning point for me and I took this same approach of “giving up being right” to what is best for everyone and I can see that I’m a much more fun person to work with and live with.

My inconvenient truth? Well, I need to carry this question around with me this week and see what surfaces. Thanks for the invitation to take an honest look at where I’m at.

Have a lovely week!
Kathryn Costa, Collage Diva

Patti Digh says:

Thanks for sharing that, Kathryn. Such great food for thought for me.

en says:

After I read your post I went to read the news. I regularly read the BBC articles. The big one for today is that Lance believes his punishment is too harsh. After reading that article I came back to this post.Yes, this man is definitely disturbed. Years of lying, betrayal, doping what a legacy. I found his whole confession disturbing. Mostly because it was all about HIM. I am sure we have just seen the mere surface of what really went on. So much ugliness. I feel nothing but disgust for Mr. Armstrong. I wonder how his poor children will get through all of this. Legacies can be pretty hard.

Many years ago I was married to a man who when questioned about his actions would turn on me and tell me that I was crazy. He also tried to tell anyone who would listen I was crazy. Time won out. It turned out I was not so crazy, he was doing exactly what I questioned him about. I realized then that when people turn the blame onto someone else they are probably guilty. Anytime a man will not answer the question directly or tells you are crazy the hair on your neck should stand up and it is time to look into things a little further. We divorced. He still lives with his lies and seems pretty miserable.

I have a relative who has lived the last 20 or so years in a lie. This caused them to avoid family because this lie was something they felt their parents would not understand. Eventually the lie came to an end. However, one of their parents died. All that lost time has really done a number on my relative. The grief and regrets are huge. Here again lies really mess up a life.

The thing I see in common in all three of these lives I have mentioned is that they were all focused on themselves. Very Narcissistic. I think this whole attitude of me comes first, I will do whatever I want is dangerous.

Being right is not always right. I have found that most people and myself are right only part of the time. I also have learned that being happy is much better than being right. People will believe what they want. I will believe what I want. I do not have to prove what I believe nor do I have to share what I believe. I do not have to convince anyone what I believe, nor believe what they believe. I just have to respect what they believe and hope they respect what i believe. Does that make sense?

I think we would all be a lot happier just being who we are. Accepting that as Patti says we are just Train Wrecks. We all carry baggage, but we do have choices what we decide to bring along in this journey we call life.

Patti Digh says:

I appreciate your sharing that – I used to work with someone who sounds like your long-ago husband. It is easy to start believing that perhaps *we’re* the crazy one, with such denials. But I believe time does finally tell. Thanks for sharing this. I, too, try to choose being happy over being right. And I also believe Karma will win out, perhaps not in our lifetimes, but sometime.

I recently dis-engaged from a disturbed person. As a teacher and friend, I kept trying to provide a path or an opportunity for her to do the right thing. I just couldn’t accept that she wouldn’t accept that chance. Who was I to “fix” her anyway? I needed to let go of my version of right and find the path that I myself needed. It was so much easier to try to” fix” her than to accept what I felt was defeat. Once I did–it was so freeing.

Patti Digh says:

I can identify with that journey. I’m glad you are free of it – and I’m also glad to be free of it.

Hope says:

It is also easier to see the issues in the narrative of the other. In some cases we need to protect ourselves but most often the false narratives are annoying more than destructive. The stories we weave about our own lives can be reconstructed so that we can grow, make changes and transform ourselves. The truth is that our stories, even the false ones, serve some purpose; we are less likely to use our high powered microscopes on ourselves.

Patti Digh says:

It is easier to see these kinds of issues in others, I do know. And I do believe all our stories serve some purpose – my hope is that my final question about our own inconvenient truths can point at least my own attention to my own stories, which–ultimately–are the only ones I can fully know.

sherold says:

Patti, thank you for having the courage to write this post. Have you read The Sociopath Next Door? One in 25 is a sociapath and many run our large corporations. They have zero conscience and Lance showed no remorse for the damage he left in his wake. My youngest brother was set up by his roommate, a sociapath, and was murdered. This is why I read this book. A fast and amazing read.

Patti Digh says:

Oh, Sherold. I am so, so sorry about your brother’s death. And I appreciate the recommendation – I will definitely read it.

sherold says:

Patti – it’s a great read and you will get so much insight. I noticed Lance did not apologize – like he still believes he is right. They will stop at nothing. Lying is part of the act and they have zero conscience. My brother was murdered 7.5 years ago and the case is cold. I know the law of cause and effect. The person will face his karma. Lance will as well. I can’t wait to watch part 2.

Patti Digh says:

I wonder if you watched part 2. I did. It was greatly unsatisfying.

Sherold Barr says:

Patti – I did watch it. I found him remorseful about his kids and what they will face. But I caught that he said he had to stay in counseling – I wondered if a sociapath / narcissist (don’t like project or labels) can be rehabbed. I did think about forgiveness is the greatest thing for all of us. Otherwise we are projecting on him. When I believe he is one of those labels, I turn it around to me: How am I unconscious or lying in my life? Then I find 3 specific ways that it could true for me. I forgive him and I thought last night that I truly forgive the person that murdered my brother. God will punish that person and Lance. It’s the karma – cause and effect. What Lance did will come back to him. Our souls (spirit/consciousness) are here on this planet to evolve. Will he evolve through this hell and back experience? Time will tell. xoxo

maureen says:

Patti, Just wanted to let you know Sherold wrote about her brother’s death and how she found her way to the other side of the pain in a book, Real Women, Real Wisdom: A Journey into the Feminine Soul. It include stories from 17 women writing about some of their great life struggles, telling their own stories with candor and openness in the hopes of helping others on their journeys.

Joy Holland says:

The whole Jimmy Savile story in the UK is another instance of this.

Patti Digh says:

Oh, yes, and what a horrible, horrible case.

This is sadness. The fall of a hero, right out of the great mythologies. We all admire great courage and talent–but better be wise to hero worship. Those on the pedestals of fame are just people like you and I and perhaps with even bigger deficiencies. I’ll settle for my “average good guy” any day.

Patti Digh says:

I think you’ve hit on something big, JoAnn. The mythologies we create in our celebrity-obsessed culture play some part in this.

Katie says:

I agree with you JoAnn. I had him on a pedestal in a big way. Until I heard him say it, I didn’t believe it. I also think people are so ready to be angry at him. I can’t seem to get there – I feel sad for him and all the people he hurt or let themselves be hurt be hurt by him. I’m still working this out, but I think he has a lot of shame from childhood and his reaction was to become a bully.

Hope says:

The next question is how do we embrace forgiving, ourselves and others, so that we are not held hostage by the impact of false narratives?

Patti Digh says:

Big question. “Hostage” is a great word to use for it, too. Do you have an answer?

Tina Francis says:

Oh this is MEATY. So much to chew on here, Patti.

Dick Carlson says:

It’s taken me years to learn to “just step away” from them. As enticing as it is to be ensnared in the drama, I have to realize that — ultimately — it’s far better for me to just move away.

I struggle with this all the time … which is why this – http://conta.cc/Xl4jBB – made me smile and my husband declare, “no comment.” I’ve made so many gaffs in my pursuit of being right. I’ve been a regular Cliff Clavin of knowledge, spewing forth my righteous swill whether you want to hear it or not. To relinquish that need, and in turn embrace an ease about life as it rolls along and keep my mouth shut when I am compelled to correct someone or state my ‘irrefutable case’, is a big part of my current path. I’m a wee bit wobbly, but I’m making progress.

Thanks Patti for this post and excellent perspective.

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